Sagittarius New Moon of Changes

Sagittarius New Moon

Dionysus Ear by Vera Berdich

Sagittarius New Moon

The fertile darkness of the New Moon in Sagittarius on December 7 pulsates with imaginal and visionary undercurrents. There is a powerful interplay between the signs of Sagittarius and Pisces, as the New Moon and Jupiter in Sagittarius are in a catalyzing square aspect with Mars and Neptune in Pisces. While Mars uniting with Neptune brings creative willpower to the lunation, the fiery force of Jupiter behind the New Moon ignites determination for expansive goals which flow from a sharpened focus toward the sparked inspiration. While Sagittarius and Pisces are signs that promote far reaching dreams that go far beyond present circumstances, neither sign is known for taking the time to build stalwart foundations to launch endeavors from. As the Sagittarius Moon darkens and is reborn in solar light, survey the roots of burgeoning plans in order to redirect imaginative problem solving toward any underlying aspects in need of tending.

Mercury takes center stage at the New Moon, as it is stationing direct at 28° Scorpio and saturating the astrological atmosphere with its tricky nature of curious questioning, contesting, and interconnection. Thus the New Moon brings to a close the transit of Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius and Scorpio that began November 16, and so just as the meaning of the forthcoming lunar cycle begins to take form we will also be integrating the insights gleaned from Mercury’s liminal retrograde passage. This past Mercury retrograde has been especially otherworldly and at odds with focused diligence at times, yet within the underworld path blazed by the star of Hermes we have been given opportunities for dissolving old patterns and opening to new purposeful paths to follow forward. With Mercury stationing it is imperative to maintain awareness of whatever details demand our attention and any signs indicating shifts of shapes to come.

Since the recent Mercury retrograde began in strong aspect with Neptune it may have brought some communication mishaps, but it has also been powerful for revisioning life and dreaming up new plans for the future. Mercury returning to predawn skies as a Morning Star while shifting direct provides impetus for making the preparations and finding the resources to embark in a new direction. Because Mercury in Scorpio is ruled by Mars as it applies to Neptune in conjunction, it suggests we can now take determined action toward manifesting whatever ingenious ideas began brewing in the time surrounding November 16. Mercury in Scorpio brings the resolve to push through unforeseen obstacles and the penetrating determination necessary for persisting along a path that shakes up whatever had become status quo.

Jupiter Luna

The Alchemical Manual by Ulrich Ruosch

Jupiter in Sagittarius rules the New Moon at the beginning of a new cycle with the Sun. Although Jupiter remains invisible during the New Moon, as the Moon waxes in light one week later Jupiter will become visible for the first time in Sagittarius as a Morning Star.  Ever since Jupiter has been in Sagittarius it has been undergoing the regenerative purification it experiences in the weeks surrounding its solar conjunction. Similar to how New Moons are effective for inner visioning and intention more so than projecting willpower in action, so has the new synodic phase of Jupiter we have been experiencing so far in Sagittarius been ideal for letting go of outdated beliefs and kindling a more authentic inner purpose to bring into life.

Due to the close co-presence of Jupiter with the New Moon, the darkness of the Sagittarius lunation nurtures with an uplifting quality that restores enthusiasm for engaging inner desire and directing energy toward whatever cultivates intrinsic motivation. If you can create time for reflection it is a beautiful lunation for allowing  yourself to imagine new possibilities without constraints and negation. After you allow yourself to fully visualize the essential meaning you wish to bring into the world, you can then reorient your ideal image with the reality of what you can currently begin working on in your present circumstances.

At the same time, the mutable nature of the Sagittarius New Moon and Jupiter clashing with Mars and Neptune in Pisces also indicates a great deal of volatile conflict in collective events, in particular within polarizing disputes in which each side is engaging from separate realities and dogmatic beliefs making mediation near impossible.  We are entering the last quarter, waning square aspect between Jupiter in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces which will be one of the major aspects of 2019. The last quarter square between Jupiter and Neptune signifies a collective shift in consciousness stemming from the beginning of the current Jupiter and Neptune cycle in 2009 in Aquarius. Though conflicts may intensify, the deeper meaning of the Jupiter and Neptune cycle indicates that the repercussions from the discord will bring the disillusionment needed to reorient beliefs around new knowledge gained from the experience.

Sagittarius New Moon

The Alchemical Manual by Ulrich Ruosch

Though the signs of Sagittarius and Pisces share the mutable modality and the rulership of Jupiter, their core friction comes from a dissimilarity in elemental nature. While Sagittarius is an outwardly projected, swift and spirited fire sign stimulating change, in contrast Pisces is an inwardly directed, receptive and soulful water sign that dissolves and coheres new forms.  Mars and Neptune in Pisces slow down our driving will force so as to allow events to take more of their own shape rather than the rapid, visionary trail blazing preferred by Jupiter and the New Moon in Sagittarius. The fires of the martial forge may be brought under the surface to spark self realization regarding the irrational depth of our inner nature and motivation. Since Jupiter is receiving Mars and Neptune through an inciting square aspect, it’s likely that the matrix of the lunation will seed a crucial change in the purpose we live life from and the inspirational sources spurring us forward.

There is a large influence from water signs within the lunation: Mars, Neptune, and Chiron occupying Pisces, Venus, Ceres, and Mercury inhabiting Scorpio, and the North Node of the Moon transiting Cancer. Moreover, there is also a water triangle formed by Mercury stationing direct in Scorpio, Chiron stationing direct in Pisces, and the North Node of the Moon in Cancer.  These aspects will draw us even deeper into the roots of present circumstances, probing to uncover previously hidden factors and absorbing emotional poisons for purification. Emotions may be deeply stirred and felt, and so making space to simply be present with feelings or sharing feelings with others will help in moving through this period rather than becoming stuck in emotive stagnation.

The return of Venus to the first decan of Scorpio means we are finally entering the final phase of the recent Venus retrograde, bringing to a close whatever tales of Venus began to take shape toward the end of September. Venus is direct as a Morning Star having been purified and regenerated during its underworld passage, and so its watery relationship with Mars in Pisces will aid in integrating the essential lessons gathered over the past few months. Venus in Scorpio is finally moving away from its opposition with Uranus, bringing whatever breakthrough ideas emerged forward into its intuitive, emotive association with Mars and Neptune. We may find healing from wounds that first became tender back in June when Mars stationed retrograde, healing from whatever was torn asunder in 2018.

After Mercury stations direct on the same day as the Sagittarius New Moon, Mercury will remain in watery Scorpio until December 12 when it will return to the mutable fire of Sagittarius. Just as we are taking in the final lessons of the recent Venus retrograde, in the week after the New Moon we will also want to integrate whatever lessons we learned through the course of the Mercury retrograde that has been going on for the past three weeks. Venus and Mercury moving direct as Morning Stars in Scorpio will demand honest exchanges and appraisals, and are perfect placements for being uncompromising in manifesting whatever new creation is ready to emerge.

Sagittarius New Moon

Sarcophagus with the Triumph of Dionysus and the Seasons

The Full Moon in Cancer that follows the New Moon in Sagittarius will ripen in full light only a day after the Capricorn Solstice on December 21. The time of peak darkness in the northern hemisphere that heralds the return of solar light (while the time of peak light in the southern hemisphere initiating summer), the solstice this year will host the magical convergence of a fully waxing Moon combined with the final conjunction between Mercury and Jupiter in Sagittarius. Interestingly, while the union of Mercury and Jupiter at the solstice speaks of soaring vision and songs of muses, the Cancer Full Moon that follows will be applying to an opposition with Saturn in Capricorn and thus involves serious, determined gravitas. There is enormous potential within the surrounding aspects of the solstice for birthing forms and ideas that combine inspiring imagination with the sturdy structure and foundation of Saturn.

In particular, the union of Mercury and Jupiter at the solstice will bring to a close a complex process that has been taking shape since October 29 when Mercury and Jupiter first united at 28° Scorpio, the same degree that Mercury stations direct at during the Sagittarius New Moon. As the Sun stands still at the solstice, with Mercury and Jupiter uniting in predawn skies, we can receive an expansive flowering of whatever seeds we nurture at the New Moon in Sagittarius.

Sagittarius New Moon

9 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Sagittarius 2 Decan

The New Moon arises in the second face of Sagittarius associated with the Nine of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image a bandaged and alert figure stands with his chosen staff planted firmly in the ground, with eight other wands of varying size rooted behind him. There is a resilient strength and courage to persist in the face of opposition found here that resonates with the meaning of the second face of Sagittarius. It is significant that the figure has been wounded at the top of his head, as a modus operandi of Sagittarius is the unification of fiery spirit with the will of the body.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Bridle” to the second face of Sagittarius, stating that the battles and conflicts pictured in the Nine of Wands card “are necessary to inflame the will and provide the heat necessary for the fusion of the mind and body.” Coppock praised the capacity of the second face of Sagittarius “to keep the body and mind in line with intention, despite contrary forces,” but cautioned against bringing “fierce resistance” to all opposition as the decan also holds a lesson of learning when “to yield in order to gain mastery.”

The Moon (descending rulership scheme) and Mars (triplicity rulership scheme) are the co-rulers of the second face of Sagittarius, more deeply unlocking the fertile friction between the Sagittarius New Moon forming a square with Mars and Neptune in Pisces. This tense aspect between Mars and the Moon at the heart of the lunation echoes the core meaning of the second face of Sagittarius described by Austin Coppock in 36 Faces. While the lunation can promote unifying assets around a targeted goal, it is vital that we also deeply consider the underlying motivation and ethical considerations of our quest and its rippling impact in the wider world. Rather than stubbornly maintaining defensive attitudes, we need to remain open to being wrong and having the willingness to modify and reorient vision as necessary.

The dichotomy of fighting to protect a vision, whether it is securing a boon through victory or bewailing the loss of defeat, is found in ancient textual images of the second decan of Sagittarius. In the Birhat Jakarta a golden woman of grace picks up gems from the ocean, while in The Beginning of Wisdom by Ibn Ezra as well as the Yavanajataka there is a chest of golden ornaments and jewels set before a beautiful woman. These images are in contrast to images in other tomes signifying sadness and fear, such as a “lamenting woman” in Three Books of Occult Philosophy.  These images of mourning and unearthed treasure are also curiously resonant with the figure of Kore (aka Persephone) who was ascribed to the second face of Sagittarius by the Hellenistic text the 36 Airs. Austin Coppock linked Kore’s presence here with her form as Persephone Praxidike, mistress of the furies and the forces of nemesis that create the adversarial force necessary to bring forth our most heroic qualities.

Kore, daughter of the sky god and earth goddess, queen of the underworld, is interesting to consider in relation to the Sagittarius New Moon coinciding with the conclusion of our experience of the recent Venus retrograde. Venus has now returned to Scorpio having completed her underworld journey, and is applying to a conjunction with Ceres, the dwarf planet named after the mother of Kore. Venus stationed retrograde on October 5 while conjoining the Persephone asteroid, and when Venus re-entered Libra at the end of October after being reborn in the heart of the Sun, Ceres was waiting to unite with her at the end of Libra. Venus journeying with Ceres now in Scorpio is seasoned and savvy, bearing a penetrative eye and productive spirit similar to the mature Kore who returns to the side of her goddess mother above ground.

When Kore ascends to the upper world she retains connection with her presence in the underworld where she is a mediatrix of soul. While Kore conducts work and connects in relationship above ground, she remembers her role underground guiding souls. The repeated retrograde, underworld transits we have been experiencing since June 2018 may have brought dark nights of the soul, yet as we come to the ending of the year we can sense the renewed strength, talent, and understanding we have been able to harvest from inner landscapes. In the blackness of the Sagittarius New Moon, feel the fire of electrifying, animating creative vision rising from within, allowing yourself the freedom of taking in a widening of potential possibilities.

References

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: the History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.

Taurus Full Moon: Uranus and the Rebirth of Venus

cezanne rocks in forest

Paul Cezanne (1890s) Rocks in the Forest

Full Moon in Taurus

The Full Moon in Taurus on October 24 illuminates our shift toward the depth of the season, and as foliage falls into rebirth during the increasing darkness in the northern hemisphere, so does the Full Moon draw us within internal regeneration to discover the seeds of new life to nurture in the season ahead. The Taurus Full Moon has an extreme emphasis on water and earth, zodiacal signs that are considered nocturnal, yin, and receptive with an energy drawn within to source action rather than an emphasis on external projection. Listening closely to the surrounding soul of our environment and the unspoken underlying the spoken within relationships will support the reshaping of elements within life, allowing the material we are working with to help guide the path we follow.  The Full Moon in Taurus is united with Uranus in the stabilizing earthy home of Venus, while forming a flowing trine with Saturn in the initiating earth sign of Capricorn. While the planets in water elements (Sun, Venus retrograde, Mercury, Jupiter in Scorpio; Neptune in Pisces) are supporting a dissolution of old forms and boundaries, the planets in earth elements (Moon and Uranus in Taurus; Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn) will foster capacity to discriminate and discern choices through separating and making distinct the elements of life we are ready to reorganize and renew.

The Taurus Full Moon peaks within one degree of  Uranus in Taurus and is also forming a square to the lunar nodes, while the Sun in Scorpio is approaching a conjunction with Venus retrograde in Scorpio. It’s a Full Moon more likely than normal to dredge up previously hidden desires, feelings, fears, as well as inspiration from subconscious sources. It may not be perfectly clear within the silvery light of the lunation which step to take next or which felt emotions are fleeting or substantial, but there’s strong likelihood the Taurus Full Moon will be coinciding with changes in mind and/or circumstance.  As a result if action is not being demanded regarding a situation, it may be best to let yourself exist within a regenerative state of flux in the week following the Full Moon rather than forcing decisions. There’s an intensified process of shedding at work, and so we may need to more fully experience the release of old identities, values, or feelings before being able to gain crystal clear clarity.

The Full Moon in Taurus is at the southern bending of the Moon, meaning the Moon is forming a square to its own nodes while being at its lowest point of southern latitude. This means that as the Moon begins to wane following the lunation it will change direction and begin to rise in latitude until eventually intersecting the ecliptic when it forms a conjunction with the North Node in Leo on October 30. As a result the Taurus Full Moon is at a dynamic point of change within its monthly orbit, an activating quality quickened and heightened by its additional union with Uranus. Additionally, the Full Moon comes at the midway point in between eclipse seasons, forming a square to both the eclipses that came in July –  August 2018 as well as the eclipses coming in January 2019. It’s also the final Full Moon to occur with the North Node in Leo and South Node in Aquarius, as the true nodes will switch into Cancer and Capricorn on November 6 during the Dark Moon of the waning half of the lunar cycle. Within this trajectory of eclipses and astrological change, the Taurus Full Moon has a volatilizing impact as it will deeply stir material mixtures, move emotions to the surface to be released,  and accelerate development.

Notably, the Taurus Full Moon combines the monthly polarity of the Sun and Moon with the yearly opposition between the Sun and Uranus retrograde, the heart of the retrograde cycle of Uranus when it is closest to Earth and as illuminated as it ever gets by the Sun. Furthermore, Venus retrograde in Scorpio is also only a couple of days from reaching the heart of its retrograde cycle in which it is also as close as it ever gets to our planet in orbit, though in contrast it is cloaked in darkness as it becomes consumed by the rays of the Scorpio Sun. The lunation’s alignment with Uranus can bring the electrified spark needed to finally change a deep seated pattern or habit, as well as incite a far ranging vision of larger goals to stretch our smaller daily targets toward. Yet due to also occurring in the heart of the Venus retrograde transit in Scorpio, it may be necessary to first work through heavy emotions before contacting the liberating lightness of Uranus.

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Hilma af Klint (1915) Tree of Knowledge

Turning aside, she led them toward the southern slopes of the hill of Caras Galadhon, and passing through a high green hedge they came into an enclosed garden. No trees grew there, and it lay open to the sky. The evening star had risen and was shining with white fire above the western woods. Down a long flight of steps the Lady went into the deep green hollow, through which ran murmuring the silver stream that issued from the fountain on the hill. At the bottom, upon a low pedestal carved like a branching tree, stood a basin of silver, wide and shallow, and beside it stood a silver ewer.

With water from the stream Galadriel filled the basin to the brim, and breathed on it, and when the water was still again she spoke. “Here is the Mirror of Galadriel,” she said, “I have brought you here that you may look into it, if you will.”

The air was very still, and the dell was dark, and the Elf -lady beside him was tall and pale.

— J.R.R. Tolkien, “The Mirror of Galadriel” from The Fellowship of the Ring

In J.R.R. Tolkien’s cosmology underlying The Lord of the Rings, Venus as a bright Evening Star is a legendary ancestor dear to the elves and their Lady Galadriel.  I thought of the above passage from The Fellowship of the Ring when contemplating the intense combination of the Taurus Full Moon being united with Uranus while also being ruled by Venus at the heart of its retrograde, only a couple of days away from being reborn in the golden fire of our Sun. In the scene the brightness of Venus shining above is brought by Galadriel down into the earth, and within the waters of her silver mirror she offers visions of what may come to pass, as well as what is passing and has passed already.  Venus is not visible at the Taurus Full Moon, but while she is invisibly passing in between the orbit of our home planet with our Sun, the full light of the Moon combined with Uranus can illuminate the previously hidden depths of dreams and visions, while also bringing luminosity to reflections regarding the past and present.

Galadriel’s advice regarding the visions seen in her mirror is worth considering with regard to what we may sense at the Full Moon: “Remember that the Mirror shows many things, and not all have yet come to pass. Some never come to be, unless those that behold the visions turn aside from their path to prevent them. The Mirror is dangerous as a guide of deeds.” With Uranus so strongly involved with the Full Moon, it will be best to focus on embodying whatever feels authentic in spite of any fears arising from awareness of the potential consequences that could come from following a genuinely enlivening path rather than external expectations. We may gain deeper realization of what we simply must do, and deciding to commit to our intrinsic purpose in the end will be more important due to helping us find our true path, rather than holding back because of whatever setbacks we fear we will have to overcome on the journey ahead.

Venus retrograde in Scorpio will finally form an exact opposition with Uranus on October 31, and so the tension between them will be continuing to build in the week following the Full Moon. Since they are both moving retrograde with the stationing direct of Venus coming in mid-November, it means that Venus and Uranus will essentially remain in close opposition from now through the beginning of December, as Venus will form its final exact opposition with Uranus on November 30. Remarkably, Venus and Uranus are forming their opposition while simultaneously being in square to the transiting lunar nodes, and this amazingly animating grand square will also persist into December as the lunar nodes will move into Cancer and Capricorn in the beginning of November around the same time that Venus moves back into Libra and Uranus moves back into Aries. This long persisting, change inducing transit will force the opposition of Venus and Uranus even more strongly to the surface than normal; it will be an unavoidable dynamic to face in personal and collective events.

The opposition between Venus and Uranus in collective events will be felt in both the unexpected events and crises that dramatically and quickly reshape storylines as well as protest movements that become catalyzed in reaction to threats against ideal values. On personal levels, the opposition between Venus and Uranus will amplify the process of  intensified change normally associated with Venus peeling back in retrograde motion and then stationing direct in stillness. If you are used to attaching the security of comfort and stable routine to the pleasure principles of Venus, be ready to shift and learn to embrace a Uranian flavor that may feel jarring to those unaccustomed to the unorthodox, raw, wilder, emancipatory and rebellious side of Venus. Commitment within relationships may be maintained and sustained, but it will be important for the bonds to allow for individual liberty and freedom of expression. Attempting to hold on too tightly or force control of situations will invite a lightning strike of Uranian fire in response.

Edward Steichen woods twilight

Woods Twilight (1899) Edward Steichen

The Full Moon is ruled by Venus retrograde applying to a conjunction with the Sun. The return of Venus uniting with the Sun while retrograde is called the inferior conjunction as Venus aligns with the Sun on our interior side, in between the orbit of Earth with the Sun. The union of Venus retrograde with the Sun signals a fiery rebirth of Venus, seeding a new cycle of Venus in its Morning Star phase which will come in November. As the inferior conjunction of Venus occurs two days after the Full Moon on October 26, it means that Venus is being purified and cleansed at the end of its cycle as the Moon peaks in light, a phase we can also liken to finishing a process of putrefaction that ultimately brings fertility and new blooms of growth.

The last time Venus was reborn in union with the Sun was on 9 January 2018 at its superior conjunction when Venus was direct and on the other side of the Sun in orbit. The last time there was an inferior conjunction of Venus retrograde, however, was 25 March 2017 at five degrees of Aries.  Some may note a deepening of the personal narrative being developed at those previous dates as Venus now re-enters the heart of the Sun, whereas others may realize how vastly different their relationships are now from those past dates of the previous Venus cycle; the common ground is that the current transit of Venus can bring deeper reflection upon the arc of storylines developed since then, and intimations of new growth coming.

When Venus forms its conjunction with the Sun on October 26, within its solar regeneration its Venusian significations can be strengthened during the time of the union. Since Venus will continue to be retrograde until November 16, however, the fiery rebirth of Venus serves best as a time of internal illumination at the dead center of the Venus retrograde transit that began October 5. Venus will still be invisible until the beginning of November when she will emerge again as a Morning Star heralding dawn, and similarly its more likely Venus will only then bring light to our own awareness of the Venusian shifts presently brewing. Since Venus simultaneously will be returning to her home sign of Libra at the beginning of November, it’s likely that increasing Venusian movement and change will come after we cross the traditional threshold of Samhain, All Saints Day, and the Day of the Dead. As this is a time of working with Spirit, the spirits of relationships no longer with us as well as ancestors will be an additional source of guidance.

Amplifying perceptions, Mercury and Jupiter are co-present with the Sun and Venus in Scorpio with Mercury applying toward a conjunction with Jupiter that will become exact on October 29. Moreover, on October 26 when Venus retrograde unites with the Sun there is also an opposition formed by the Moon in Taurus in polarity to the conjoining of Mercury and Jupiter in Scorpio. Our experience of Jupiter in Scorpio is almost complete, and the week following the Full Moon ramps up the penetrative intensity needed for a final lesson. Mercury during its union with Jupiter is twinkling as an Evening Star in twilight, in Scorpio in a place to foster curious questioning and deep digestion of whatever emotional and relational experiences coincide with a dive into Scorpio during the final days of October. Mercury and Jupiter together in Scorpio bring extrasensory perception beyond words, and we may need to wait until the beginning of November when Venus has moved into Libra and Mercury has moved into Sagittarius in order to communicate clearer about our changing state. The presence of Mercury and Jupiter in Scorpio as Venus is reborn signifies that even amidst difficult experiences of strife that growth and wisdom can be eventually cultivated.

hilmaafklint_pictureofthestartingpoint

Picture of the Starting Point (1920) Hilma af Klint

An immense shift in astrological atmosphere comes in November as the Moon wanes in light, including a remedy of the lack of fire signs being occupied at the Taurus Full Moon.  The first change comes on October 31 when Mercury enters Sagittarius and Venus moves back into Libra.  Next Uranus will move back into Aries on November 6 on the same day that the true nodes of the Moon leave Aquarius and Leo and enter Capricorn and Cancer. A day later comes the New Moon in Scorpio on November 7, followed by a major driver of change: the entrance of Jupiter into its fiery home of Sagittarius on November 8.  With so many changes happening we can predict this will be a period of accelerated shifts, with some elements breaking down to be released completely while other parts of our life experience rapid growth. In particular Mercury and Jupiter entering Sagittarius will be a welcome warming of inspiration to respond as needed.

As a result, it will be best to keep in mind that the events and insights experienced during the full light of the Taurus Moon are a precursor to greater change coming in November.  It’s by no means the end of the story, but rather only the beginning.

pents05

5 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Taurus 1 Decan

The first face of Taurus where the Full Moon in Taurus culminates is connected with the Five of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The Five of Pentacles is often associated with worry and fear over not having enough money or resources, or experiencing bodily or material hardship.  Yet the poverty stricken figures in front of the stained glass window of a cathedral suggest that resources can be found in even the most dire of circumstances, as charitable sources of sustenance can be found in communities.  Mercury rules the first face of Taurus, linking the commerce of Mercury with the fertile, earthy nature of the sign of the Bull.  Mercury makes the connections we need for our livelihood, and in the first decan of Taurus we discover our capacity not only to gain enough resources for our own survival but to also contribute assistance to those in greater need.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Plow” to the first face of Taurus, noting the “face is traditionally connected to all of the sciences necessary to draw forth fruit from the land,” adding that we must also realize that “the mind, heart and body are all ripe fields, which offer abundance when cultivated” (p. 69). Coppock noted that though the first decan of Taurus “reveals the ways one may work with whatever one has to gain more,” that the images and interpretations associated with the Five of Pentacles card bring up the shadow of fear that we will not have enough money, food, or material resources and that bleak times may arise if we disengage from our constant planning around cultivating resources. Thus the threat of not having enough in the future inspires us to work hard and plan for how to not only gain enough resources for the moment but also to save for later times of need.

The Hellenistic text 36 Airs ascribed Charis to the first decan of Taurus, linking the Charites of mythology to the charity we can find in the image of the Five of Pentacles card as well as the meaning of the first face of Taurus. The Charites are the same as the three Graces you are most likely familiar with, commonly known as Splendor, Mirth, and Good Cheer, though various traditions have additional names as well as numbers for these charming, fertile beings. As Venus is reborn in the days following the Taurus Full Moon, focusing on cultivating your inner agriculture of soul will align you with the good graces. While a cold wind blows across collective events as darkness increases, the inner light we nurture within our own darkness will become available to share with and inspire others.

 

References

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.

New Moon in Virgo

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Winged Sphinx from Petra, Jordan

New Moon in Virgo

Virgo is a mutable sign of seasonal transition, as in the northern hemisphere we shift from Summer into Fall, while in the southern hemisphere we complete Winter in turn for Spring. The New Moon in Virgo on September 9 similarly serves as a bridge between distinct astrological seasons. Previously, we experienced a volatile series of eclipses with numerous planets in retrograde, most notably Mars and Mercury. Now within the darkness of the Virgo New Moon we are experiencing the gravitas of Saturn having stationed direct a few days before the syzygy, bringing us into a lunar cycle ideal for generating forward momentum and taking care of whatever responsibilities need our attention following a season of volatility.  Within a month, however, Venus will station retrograde and by the time the star of Aphrodite has completed her backward motion in November we will also have experienced the lunar nodes moving into Cancer and Capricorn, Uranus moving back into Aries, and Jupiter entering its domicile of Sagittarius. The Virgo New Moon thus connects two distinct periods of change inducing astrological influences.

The recent stationing of Saturn makes the ringed planet’s significations take precedence, and with Saturn in Capricorn in range of creating an earthy triangle with Mercury in Virgo and Uranus in Taurus, there is great potential for clarifying goals and the priorities and tasks necessary for effective manifestation. Yet the Virgo New Moon is separating from an opposition with Neptune in Pisces, an aspect which lends itself more so to simply enjoying the presence of being rather than diligently taking care of work details. As I wrote about recently, the planetary nodes of Neptune were strongly activated in recent months, and transiting Neptune in Pisces has likewise been an important influence.  If we have been able to take time for imaginal exploration of whatever we most want to bring into the world, the Virgo New Moon is perfect for discerning choices and following through on action for development.

The Virgo New Moon is full of resilient, visionary aspects as it is applying to a harmonious sextile with Jupiter in Scorpio and an empowering trine with Pluto in Capricorn. Rather than being lost in a cloud of Neptunian fog, the Virgo New Moon can aid in recovering from disillusionment with the state of the world in order to invest energy in our own personal projects or in helping others in collective efforts toward the greater needs of our surrounding community. Jupiter in Scorpio has completed its final exact trine with Neptune in Pisces and is applying tightly toward its final exact sextile with Pluto in Capricorn.  We’ve been experiencing Jupiter in Scorpio since 10 October 2017, and the Virgo New Moon signals the time to make a final push to complete or make significant progress in realizing whatever growth opportunities have coincided with Jupiter’s time in the fixed sign of the Scorpion.

the-sacred-wood-arnold-bocklin

Arnold Bocklin The Sacred Wood

Mercury rules the New Moon from its home and exaltation of Virgo, separating from an earth triangle with Saturn in Capricorn and Uranus in Taurus. Mercury is experiencing a phase change during the New Moon, heading under the beams of the Sun and disappearing from view on its way toward a union with the Sun in Virgo on September 20. This means we have come to the end of the synodic cycle of Mercury that began with its superior conjunction on June 5, which was interestingly in square to Neptune in Pisces. With the ruler of the New Moon at home in Virgo, it amplifies the potential of the New Moon to help us recover and move forward from all of the change that has occurred since the beginning of June. Mercury in Virgo is ideal for analysis, organization, and clarifying decision making.

As Mercury moves toward its rebirth with the Sun on September 20 at 28º02′ Virgo, it will recreate the same aspects with Neptune, Pluto, and Jupiter that the New Moon possesses. On September 13 Mercury will form an opposition to Neptune in Pisces, then on September 15 Mercury will form a trine with Pluto in Capricorn, and then on September 16 Mercury will form a sextile with Jupiter in Scorpio. All of this will occur in the build-up not only to the superior conjunction of Mercury on September 20, but also to the Aries Full Moon on September 24. Thus during the week of September 13 through the 20 we can experience a manifestation or significant development toward whatever we set in motion at the Virgo New Moon.

Bocklin Schwanengrotte

Arnold Bocklin Schwanengrotte

One of the most significant elements of the Virgo New Moon is the entrance of Venus into Scorpio that coincides with the lunation.  One reason is that as soon as Venus enters Scorpio, it instantly begins to tightly form an opposition with Uranus in Taurus. The tension of the polarity between Uranus and Venus is somewhat mitigated due to Venus receiving Uranus, but it is likely to coincide with sudden and rapid developments in associated areas of life (for example whatever places in your natal chart are occupied by Scorpio and Taurus). Most importantly, this is the first of three oppositions that will be formed by Venus and Uranus in the coming months. This is due to the fact that after Venus completes the opposition with Uranus on September 12, it will be slowing down as it approaches its retrograde station on October 5 which will lead it to forming two more oppositions with Uranus on October 31 and November 30. Thus more so than a temporary activation of Venus and Uranus, the Virgo New Moon launches us into an extended process of change we will not fully have understood until December. For now, it will be helpful to begin taking note of whatever changes arise in storylines while also realizing we are only at the beginning of navigating the corresponding developments.

Venus remains a bright evening star during the night of the Virgo New Moon, so enjoy her luminescence as each subsequent evening she will be descending lower and lower during twilight as she approaches her retrograde in October when she will disappear from visibility.  Venus is also forming harmonious, pivotal aspects as not only is she opposing Uranus in Taurus, but also forming harmonious sextile aspects with both Saturn in Capricorn and Mercury in Virgo. In addition, Venus completed a catalytic square aspect with Mars the day before the New Moon on September 8, an aspect which stirred up all of the material that has been in a process of change over the course of the past few months. Due to Venus stationing retrograde at the beginning of October, it means that Venus and Mars will form another exact square on October 10. Therefore, similar to the opposition formed by Venus with Uranus, its square aspect with Mars also takes us into an extended process of change rather than a temporary impetus.

Mars returns to Aquarius on September 10, a day after the Virgo New Moon, meaning that it will basically be sustaining tension with Venus over the course of the next month.  Mars will be approaching its final conjunction with the South Node of the Moon in Aquarius during the waxing cycle of the Moon, forming its exact conjunction with the South Node on September 25, a day after the Aries Full Moon. Taking all of this into account, it means the lunar cycle we begin with the Virgo New Moon will not only bring significant developments, but also deeper understanding regarding whatever changes we have been experiencing, or however we have been feeling stuck or obstructed.  The forthcoming lunar cycle demands clear thinking bound with decisive action and a willingness to confront whatever is not working, devising solutions as needed.  We will need the resilient desire of Venus in Scorpio that will penetrate to the depths of dilemmas, and with Jupiter co-present in Scorpio there is strength to be found in taking a stand and persisting in the face of opposition.

pents09

9 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Virgo 2 Decan

The New Moon in Virgo falls in the third face of Virgo associated with the Nine of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The image is resplendent with a golden aura surrounding a Venusian figure, and fittingly Venus is the ruler of the second face of Virgo.  On her hand sits a bird of prey ready to strike out for resources, while ripening grapevines surround her.  This tarot card is traditionally associated with gains in wealth, and Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces analyzed how the hooded falcon (a symbol of spirit enclosed in matter) is a protector of the grapevine resources linked to her wealth since it feeds on the creatures who would damage the growth of the grapes.  Coppock found a theme of continual reshaping and refinement of matter in this decan that unveils the diverse extremes of experiences that unite within the final form of a created work that contains spirit:  “Alchemically, this face provides understanding of the many beautiful and repulsive states the matter attains throughout the Magnum Opus . . . . [and] brings one to inspect material processes and note the efficiency or lack thereof” (p. 146).

Interestingly, the fragmentary Hellenistic text the 36 Airs linked the Moirai to the second face of Virgo.  These are the daughters of Necessity, the goddesses of fate: Clotho the spinner of the threads of life, Lachesis the measurer of fateful threads, and Atropos who cuts the threads.  These goddesses of fate appearing in this decan remind us to center within the actual currents of life so that choices can be discerned that will allow one to navigate accordingly.  In Plato’s Myth of Er, the Moriai not only ascribe ones destiny but also the guardian daimon who can bring guidance in accordance with virtue and authentic character. While there are many upsetting events occurring in collective events we cannot change, we do possess the inherent character to respond with responsible virtue rather than in a way that goes against the nature of our higher self.  The current shift toward a time of Venus retrograde will bring tests and events saturated with the feel of destiny, bringing forth deeper aspects of our Self and realizations of purpose and potential. To paraphrase Carl Jung, free will is doing that which one must do.

References

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: the history, astrology, and magic of the decans. Three Hands Press.

 

Total Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius

max ernst seen through a disposition

Max Ernst, Seen Through a Disposition

Blood Red Moon in Aquarius

Dissonance

(if you are interested)

leads to discovery

— William Carlos Williams

Total Lunar Eclipses are one of the most dramatic visual phenomenons in astrology, as the full light of the Moon becomes enveloped in blood red shadow. Within the space of the shadow’s sojourn, we sense the dragons of ancient lore awaken, wings rustling and eyes beaming. We feel red, the redness of pungent vitality penetrating whatever has felt stagnant, smelling of decay. We’ll feel the full strength of Mars during the Total Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius, moved by the red planet of indomitable courage and resilient creativity pulsating within. The shadow will nourish us through its martial heat to emerge from the shedding of old forms and identity into fuller embodiment of our nature.

Marsilio Ficino in his books on life described spirit as a subtle, hot vapor of the blood, writing that “blood serves the spirit, the spirit the senses, and finally the senses reason.” Spirits will be stirred as there is a wild, unrestrained quality to the eclipse that will burn off  the usual conscious attempts to keep deep rooted desires buried underneath the conditioned patterns we’ve felt bound by.  It will not feel so reasonable to suppress passions in order to fit in with status quo expectations, but rather unreasonable to hold back heartfelt expression. Yes, anger and conflict can get amplified at a scorching syzygy such as this, but so can feelings of liberation that prod us to finally take the actions necessary to reshape our role and rewrite our story.

Mars is opposite the Sun at the full phase of its synodic cycle, the heart of its retrograde journey in which it is closest to us in orbit and brightest red in the night sky. The glowing Mars will appear below the eclipsed Moon against the canopy of fixed stars, both aligned with the South Node of the Moon; meanwhile the Sun will be at home in Leo and united with the North Node of the Moon. We are called to make a sacrifice, to make sacred through releasing an old identity, fear, wound, pattern, ambition, or obsession into the flames of the Aquarius South Node. Growth will be found through being receptive to unconscious messages and guidance, while sustaining sharp discernment and clarifying awareness so that we do not become entangled in unnecessary conflict. Yet confrontation and mettle will be a necessity to engage with the potency of the eclipse. At times we will need to withdraw into protected contemplative space for reflection, at other times we will be required to act quickly and directly, bravely confronting whatever obstacles or dilemmas arise.

Uranus in Taurus is rocking the eclipse, making a direct strike that excessively accelerates the volatility: many collective crises will erupt, many will feel on edge or hyped up on strong stimulants. It’s not an eclipse for maintaining tight order and control. Things will be messy, hot and sweaty, dirty and fecund with germinating seeds signaling a future harvest or the falling apart of past security. If you feel passionate about working on a particular project, there is power available for engaging fully with the process while letting go of worrying about unreadiness. There’s also strong potency in the spaces of stillness where we can envision while focusing more on the release of old aspects of ourselves we are ready to lay to rest.

MSevenBremner_FructusMortis_2018_sm

Marlene Seven Bremner (2018) Fructus Mortis

Within all the tumultuous, rushing currents of the Aquarius eclipse within collective events, Hermes is sitting in stillness, consumed with penetrating thought.  Less than two days before the exact alignment of the Lunar Eclipse, Mercury is stationing retrograde at 24 degrees of Leo. Mercury remains a visible Evening Star during the time of the eclipse, having not yet descended into its invisible, underworld phase in which it plays the role of psychopomp. Mercury will be stationary as it emerges from the shifting hues of twilight for those in position to glimpse its fleeting presence, and similarly Mercury will be available to help decipher and digest the events and insights that align with the eclipse. When Mercury is stationing retrograde, it becomes even more important than normal to sustain keen awareness and sharp perception not only to the usual mundane affairs, but also to passing signs that may serve as omens of guidance.

Mercury in its retrograde phase in Leo will reach its illuminating rebirth moment of aligning with the Sun only a few days before a Partial Solar Eclipse in Leo on August 11.  The gift of this Mercury retrograde in Leo will be in helping to guide perception toward what needs greater awareness, whether that be an image in a dream or a detail in a work project. With regard to the retrograde loop pattern traced in the sky by the path of Mercury, there is a fascinating element in which it is happening in southern latitude relative to the ecliptic, similarly to how the Mars retrograde is also occurring in southern latitude.  The reason for this is that both the present Mercury and Mars retrograde phases are occurring in signs that form a square to their own planetary nodes.

I was lucky to see a wonderful talk by Michelle Gould at UAC entitled Planets at the Bending in which she theorized that planets at the southern bending may have gained a more fearful interpretation compared to the north in Mesopotamian astrology because Mesopotamian civilizations were often protected by mountains to the north and vulnerable to invasion from the south. In astrology there is a lineage of thought linking planets in southern latitude to our conscious personality becoming vulnerable to greater influence from the unconscious. Mercury retrograde periods are ideal for mediating the intersection between conscious and unconscious dynamics, and will be an important point of focus in coming weeks.

The influence of subconscious, irrational lunar forces are further amplified by the eclipsed Moon being out toward the far point of its orbit relative to Earth, and so not far from Black Moon Lilith. There’s an aspect of our nature we’ve been in denial of or have suppressed to uncover here. Sometimes we project this material and identity on to others we end up becoming triggered by, but normally once we begin the process of accepting and integrating this aspect of ourselves we are able to not only feel more whole, but our life trajectory also tends to shift into greater flow with opportunities in life appearing to embody the new found presence.

Paul Klee gaze of silence

Paul Klee, Gaze of Silence

Venus in Virgo is separating from an opposition with Neptune and applying toward a close trine with Pluto in Capricorn during the eclipse. As a result Venus is playing an important mediating role behind the scenes of the eclipse in placing us in deeper contact with soulful feelings through our inner senses. Venus in Virgo has been stirring up a lot of material for us through relationships, and with all of the retrograde action some of this material could relate to the realm of memory and the stories held within of past relationships in addition to current. Venus moving from Neptune to Pluto can reveal how we have given our power away in the past through relationship, how we have felt abandoned or betrayed by those we have trusted, and how we can come to acceptance with how all of this has impacted our present state and the way we interact with others.

Though some material arising within may feel uncomfortable and difficult to face, ultimately Venus is in a position of empowerment. The trine from Pluto in Capricorn to Venus in Virgo within the dissolution of Neptune can foster the softening of old, stubborn patterns that have weighed us down like heavy rocks of burden. Venus is in the home of Mercury which is the reason it is considered to be in “fall” in Virgo, yet with Mercury stationing retrograde at the eclipse there is potent analytical force available for Venus to bring to our inner depths.

Michael_Maier_Atalanta_Fugiens_Emblem_03

Emblem 3 from Atalanta Fugiens by Michael Maier

Mars being opposite the Sun within a day before the exact alignment of the Total Lunar Eclipse means the red planet is entering the most “hot and dry” phase of its synodic cycle. As Mars is already considered to be at an extreme of heat and dryness, in the aftermath of the eclipse we will need to focus on how to most effectively separate ourselves from the situations that no longer feel tolerable for us. Some may feel like “burning the house down,” so keep in mind how to best make changes in ways that will not unnecessarily exacerbate conflicts.

The above image from Michael Maier’s Atalanta Fugiens shows a woman cleansing clothes soiled by the dirt of earth through the other elements: the soaking in water raised to high heat from fire, with the ensuing exposure to air and the heat of the Sun completing the purification. She is a worthy image of the Water Bearer holding the space of Mars retrograde, the South Node of the Moon, and the Total Lunar Eclipse. As the text of the Atalanta Fugiens states, “whatever faeces or Crudities are in [the Philosophick Subject] will be purged and taken away by the infusion of its proper Waters, and the whole body will be brought to a great perfection and cleanness.” We are working here with what the Rosarium Philosophorum called the “Philosophic Fire” and “Philosophic Water.” We can also see in the image the woman is wielding a variety of materials in order to stoke a variety of heat for the process.

It may be helpful to work with a similar image of cleansing and purification with whatever material comes up in correspondence with the Total Lunar Eclipse. Allow yourself to work with the material, to heat and soak it, and expose it to air and solar heat for further treatment. Astrological events such as this Aquarius Lunar Eclipse signify change and a greater capacity to rewrite our life narratives and change the course of our coming life in a more authentic direction. It doesn’t mean the process will be easy and pleasant, but it does mean a great reward may be found in the end through doing the work.

5 of Swords

5 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Aquarius 1 Decan

The blood red shadow arises across the face of the full Moon in the first decan of Aquarius, associated with the Five of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image of the 5 of Swords card illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith, we see a swordsman pridefully watching his conquered rivals walk away, leaving him solitary in a freshly cleared domain. Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces noted that Aquarius I “is a face of exclusion and intentional exile,” and that a lot of images in older texts “depict the difficulties of living on the margins, on the outside” (p. 226).  Coppock linked the meaning of this card to the independence, liberation, and “wider and deeper understanding of reality” to be found through breaking free from the orthodox of one’s time and accepting “the mark of the heretic” if necessary (p. 227). In this way, the image of the 5 of Swords card above shows how many relationships become sacrificed when one goes into exile away from societal norms, though also bringing the potential that new relationships will arise in alignment with the liberated sense of Self.

The Hellenistic text the 36 Airs described the goddess of justice Dike as inhabiting the first face of Aquarius. Coppock in 36 Faces linked Dike appearing here with “the abandonment of relationships which do not live up to Lady Justice’s high standards,” an idea which makes sense. Fittingly, the two rulers of the first decan of Aquarius are Venus (descending order) and Saturn (triplicity order), signifying the boundaries of relationship. While we may feel like severing certain relationships as we pass through the shadow of the eclipsed Moon, the real gift offered here is awareness of what ideals, ethics, and values are important for us to embody with integrity as well as have present in the bonds of relationship we form with others. The more we gain awareness of these qualities and most importantly hold ourselves accountable to living from them, the more likely we will also experience a deeper resonance with these values within our relationships. It will be important to not waste energy projecting judgment toward “scape goats” we judge as being out of alignment with our values, but instead draw upon our full reservoir of energy to create with integrity a life more resonant with the discovered essentiality.

References

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.

 

 

Scorpio New Moon: Mars & Pluto

andrew wyeth dryad

Dryad by Andrew Wyeth

New Moon in Scorpio

New Moons are a time of darkness.  In alignment, we go within our own darkness and set intentions for the forthcoming lunar cycle as our Moon regenerates in the heart of our Sun.  Scorpio is a zodiac sign also associated with the dark and the hidden, as well as transformation.  We have been experiencing an intense period of Scorpio amplification and a collective catharsis in correlation that has brought attention to stories of misuse of power too often denied, including revelations around sexual abuse that further link to Scorpio significations of sex, power and control dynamics.  Scorpio brings to the surface what needs to be revealed for regeneration, and so we have been experiencing a collective purging necessary to bring more widespread awareness to the suffering caused by sexual predation.  Our entrance into the year long transit of Jupiter in Scorpio has quickly been bringing awareness to what’s been lurking in the shadows, and with Venus as well as the Sun and Moon now in Scorpio we are invited to dig even deeper.  The darkness of Scorpio is ultimately the nurturing kind, the rich soil lying fecund underneath us that awaits fertilization and the metamorphic reemergence of colorful growth.  It is vital to carefully cultivate the seeds you are germinating when the Scorpio New Moon arrives on November 18.

The influx of Scorpio energy has been magnified further by the sign of Scorpio forming a square aspect with the signs of Leo and Aquarius that the lunar nodes have been transiting through.  The Sun and the Moon both faced off with the lunar nodes in the week leading up to the Scorpio New Moon, while Venus and Jupiter are heading toward a square with the lunar nodes.   The Scorpio New Moon also forms a square with the degrees of both the recent Leo eclipses (Leo Lunar Eclipse on February 10;  Leo Solar Eclipse on August 21) as well as the Aquarius Solar Eclipse coming later in February 2018, further signifying a time of collective crossroads.  Planets squaring the nodes force their associated issues to be dealt with, and so the Scorpio activation has been exposing the misuse of power by those desiring Leo ambitions of fame and status.  The lunar nodes in Aquarius and Leo bring the opportunity to discover ways of being more empowered and passionately living life more fully while also respecting the boundaries of others.  The influence of Scorpio further points to the necessity of living from one’s inner authority of ethics, purifying and shedding the toxic conditioning elements of culture such as misogyny.

The Scorpio New Moon is particularly intense due to the closely applying square between Mars in Libra with Pluto in Capricorn.  Any exact square between Mars and Pluto at a lunation is extremely catalytic, but in this case it is even more powerful due to Mars ruling the New Moon and Pluto also having modern associations with rulership over Scorpio.  Mars in Libra is in the home of Venus and a sign that is in polarity to its own home of Aries.  Mars in Libra is the warrior and protector of social justice, but to achieve this Mars must find a balanced expression that requires restraint at times, more so than direct and impulsive action.  With Mars transiting Libra while forming a square with Pluto, anger and tempers will be quick to flare over issues of oppression.  In their dynamic Mars is in the superior position of being in the tenth place from Pluto and so in position to overcome Pluto.  However, there is an old Hellenistic astrology concept of “striking with a ray” which leads to the interpretation that the dominant power structure (Pluto in Capricorn) will strike back hard to impede social activists (Mars in Libra) from gaining ground.

Andrew Wyeth carry

Carry by Andrew Wyeth

One of the keys of the Scorpio New Moon is to discern how to flow with the currents of power for the greater good.  It is an opportune New Moon for making intentions with regard to long term goals and where you want to place your daily focus in expending energy and initiative.  In natal charts, the aspect of Mars square Pluto can be challenging in terms of having grandiose vision and ambition and then being faced with all of the barriers to overcome in the process of manifestation.  These barriers involve both external and internal issues, and similarly the collective experience of this transit brings to the surface whatever has been in the way of achieving goals and developing plans.  Realizations can emerge more easily than normal regarding what we need to separate from and sever with regards to our desires.

Notably Mars is exchanging signs with Venus in Scorpio, as Mars is in the home of Venus and Venus is in the home of Mars.  This further means that both Venus and Mars are in signs that are opposite their domicile placements of Taurus (Venus) and Aries (Mars).  The influence of Venus in Scorpio makes the drive for justice with Mars in Libra more obsessive and more willing to penetrate to the depths of current circumstances.  Venus in Scorpio is forming an integrative sextile with Pluto in Capricorn, and so there is a higher lesson available in terms of how to change our own attitudes and behavior to have greater integrity as well as how to engage and listen to others coming from different perspectives and backgrounds more effectively.  However, in reality this combination will more readily lead people into heated conflict and so keep this in mind when navigating difficult situations.  When Mars and Pluto collide like this at a Scorpio lunation, there are explosive undercurrents to deal with.

Andrew Wyeth Wind from the Sea

Wind from the Sea by Andrew Wyeth

We make our way through Everything like thread passing through fabric: giving shape to images that we ourselves do not know.

–Rainer Maria Rilke, born with Jupiter in Scorpio

Another massive influence over the Scorpio New Moon comes from dreamy Neptune, as it will station direct as the Moon begins to wax in light on November 22.  Planets stationing saturate the astrological atmosphere with their influence, particularly in the case of Neptune as it will open awareness to aspects of reality normally invisible or veiled to “normal” modes of mundane perception.  Neptune has been moving retrograde since June 16, and so it is worthwhile to reflect back upon the past five months of Neptune’s backward movement.

As Neptune stations we can feel a dissolution of interior complexes and exterior structures, and an opening of awareness to a sense that we can be perceiving through a focus of consciousness that is different from our past. It can feel like we are opening to a message outside our known reality, as Neptune is a far-out planet bridging our solar system to what revolves beyond, or it can feel like a current rising from deep within our depths. We can experience moments of realization within a flood of former boundaries dissolving, yet the tendency is to fall back again into the security of the old reality instead of following the seemingly mystical call we fear is merely an illusion.  Confusion and disorientation can engulf us when we look to our former self image to provide stability, as under these waves we feel the superficial structure of its facade.

Making all of Neptunes significations even more impactful is the additional transit of Jupiter in Scorpio applying to a trine with Neptune in Pisces as it stations.  Since Jupiter’s rulership connects it directly into the Mars and Pluto square, we will be more likely to feel enough passion and motivation to set sails in the direction the Neptunian wind and current is leading us.  Jupiter will form its first exact trine with Neptune on December 2 as the Moon waxes toward the upcoming Gemini Full Moon.  As I wrote recently on the trine between Jupiter in Scorpio and Neptune in Pisces that will be a dominant influence in the year ahead:

“Like a Bodhisattva willing to return and return again in order to help enlighten and liberate others, Jupiter in Scorpio will support persevering through uncomfortable truths in order to engage the world wholeheartedly and to compassionately serve the greater good.  Jupiter in Scorpio will support testing and probing our beliefs, discovering where we are truly being mindful in the moment and where we have been led into deception.”

Andrew Wyeth trodden weed

Trodden Weed by Andrew Wyeth

Venus is important to reflect upon at the New Moon not only because it is co-present with the lunation in Scorpio and applying to a square with the lunar nodes, but also because it has entered it’s liminal phase of invisibility, disappearing from morning skies under the beams of the Sun.  At this point in her cycle, Venus is on the far side of the Sun from us slowly approaching her Superior Conjunction with the Sun that will eventually occur at nineteen degrees of Capricorn on January 8, 2018.  Since Venus is heading toward a union with our Sun that will occur in close proximity to Pluto in Capricorn, there is a degree of foreshadowing happening in terms of Pluto being tightly bound to the meaning of the Scorpio New Moon.  As Venus descends into the underworld of her invisible phase, we may notice elements of past Venusian attachments stripping away while other elements of Venusian desire begin to take on greater prominence.

Finally, it is important to realize that we have the waxing half of the forthcoming lunar cycle to bask in the glory of Mercury shining bright as an Evening Star on its way toward a union with Saturn near the degrees of our Galactic Center.  Mercury will ultimately station retrograde close in timing with the upcoming Full Moon in Gemini, but within the darkening twilight of the Scorpio New Moon the Star of Hermes continues to bring illumination.  While this is a strong phase of Mercury for reflection and integration of recent experiences, we have also already entered the “Mercury retrograde shadow zone” of the zodiacal terrain that Mercury will later return to retrograde a second time, ultimately moving back through again a third time.  Therefore, its a good idea to check out the range of the upcoming Mercury retrograde from thirteen to twenty-nine degrees of Sagittarius and how it impacts your natal chart, and beginning to sense if you can feel what changes are coming with the upcoming retrograde movement and what elements of your life with become an important focus of attention as we head into 2018.

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7 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Scorpio 3 Decan

The New Moon falls in the third face of Scorpio associated with the Seven of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In the image each of the seven chalices holds an embodiment of a desire, such as fame, fortune, lust and other earthly powers.  The veiled figure in the center brings to mind the burning desire of Sophia in gnostic texts to gain ultimate understanding, a desire it is said that cast a veil whose shadow became the material world we traverse often overwhelmed by desire like the shadowy figure in the image.  Some interpret the image as signifying that through discernment we may choose to follow the one desire that will bring clarity needed to make choices aligned with our inner values and desires.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces linked the Seven of Cups to the third face of Scorpio through their shared meaning of becoming dominated by obsessive desires.   Coppock ascribed the image of “A Crow” to the third decan of Scorpio, noting that the essence of this face involves the putrefaction of desire that leads to direct contact with the nature of desire.  Coppock posited that through the loss of unfulfilled desire, the process of separating our desire from the external objects of desires brings the ability to reseed and regenerate core desires.  Coppock wrote that the third face of Scorpio contains a “formula of liberation, for if we were not capable of laying our desires to rest, returning them to pure energy, we would be enchained forever, prisoners of what we once held dear.”

While Coppock pointed out that many older images associated with the decan hold the symbolism of drunken, uncontrolled desires of a ferocious and violent quality, I am most intrigued by an image in the Liber Hermetis that contains “a human body and the form of a he-goat, holding eggs hanging from a thread in both hands.”  The eggs strung by thread suggests to me a meaning we can find in the final face of Scorpio that involves the fertility of destiny and the ripening of the moment.  Along these lines, it is further fascinating to consider that the ancient Hellenistic fragmentary text 36 Airs ascribed Kairos to the third face of Scorpio.  You are likely familiar with the term kairos referring to the opportune moment for something to occur that is not confined to the demands of chronological time.  Yet Kairos in Greek myth was the youngest son of Zeus as well as the lover of Fortuna, an embodiment of luck and favorable opportunities.  Kairos was seen as always moving with winged feet, carrying a razor or scales that represent the fleeting moment in which opportunity comes and goes, the moment we need to seize and not neglect.

The Moon rules the third face of Scorpio in the triplicity rulership scheme, lending added potency to the New Moon and unlocking the gates of this decan’s meaning.  The square from Mars to Pluto brings the fires of urgency to the moment so that we will be ready to take action when the opportune moment arises.  The time has come to let go of what has come to pass, opening fully to the soulful desires felt within the presence of our quiet contemplation.

Joy is inexpressibly more than happiness. Happiness befalls people, happiness is fate, while people cause joy to bloom inside themselves.  Joy is plainly a good season for the heart; joy is the ultimate achievement of which humans are capable.

— Rainer Maria Rilke

References

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.

Rilke, Rainer Maria (2006). Letters on Life. Edited and translated by Ulrich Baer. The Modern Library Classics.

Venus & Mercury Retrograde in Taurus

Venus receives Mercury Retrograde

Venus conjoins Mercury Retrograde in her own home of Taurus this Friday, May 13.  Venus unifies, harmonizes, brings us pleasure, and in the earthy, body-centered lair of Taurus, she wants to delight our bodily forms and the deepest recesses of our sensory, sensual natures.  Mercury in astrology can destabilize, contest, and create volatility in contrast to the unifying nature of Venus, yet Mercury is also the connective mediator between the world animating spirit and our bodily, material realm.  With Mercury retrograde in Taurus, with Mercury recently having passed through a purifying conjunction with the Sun while conjoining its own heliocentric South Node, Mercury is pulling us deeply within our senses to the inner source of our thoughts and discernment.  If you are lucky enough to be in love in this moment, it is an ideal transit of pure pleasure.  If you are alone or dissatisfied in relationship, this is an ideal time for Self nurturance and getting in touch with your deepest feelings and needs in relationship.  By embracing being alone and out of relationship at this time, the inner process that is supported by this transit will help magnetize a deeply resonant relationship that aligns with the uncovered inner values and needs when the time is right.

This lovely transit of Mercury retrograde uniting with Venus in Taurus is embellished by it being in an exact trine with Pluto in Capricorn, and also in range of a trine to Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon in Virgo.  Mercury during its retrograde plays the role of the Herald to Hades, and so aligned with Venus will help release resistance to whatever cathartic changes Pluto in Capricorn has been calling for in our life that we have not yet answered with full presence.  In the next few days there is a lovely opportunity to accept the underlying changes in our life that in the past has created stress, worry, and grief, and instead allow ourselves to be present and open to what has been created for us in this moment out of the destruction.

remedios varo and husband

Remedios Varo

These lovely aspects surrounding Mercury uniting with Venus in her home are happening as the Moon waxes in light, en route to an electrifyingly dynamic Full Moon next week that is aligned with the heart of the current Mars Retrograde.  Furthermore, all of this is happening within the tightening of the tension involving Saturn in Sagittarius in square to the opposition between Jupiter in Virgo and Neptune in Pisces.  With Mercury moving slowly backward in its retrograde, it will be lingering longer than normal in its embrace of Venus, and lucky Hermes is getting to enjoy the experience in the home of Venus.  Although many elements of our lives may feel scary with the degree of changes signified by the surrounding astrological transits, the commingling of Venus and Mercury now can facilitate inner access to the authentic change and growth occurring for you, rather than the collective fears of change circulating in the atmosphere now.

The ideal situation, as far as we can see, is when the ego, with a certain plasticity, obeys the central regulation of the psyche. But when it hardens and becomes autonomous, acting according to its own reasons, then there is often a neurotic constellation.  This happens not only to individuals, but also collectively, which is why we speak of collective neuroses and psychoses.  Whole groups of mankind can drift into that split situation and deviate from their basic instinctual patterns, and then disaster is close.  That is why in hero stories there is nearly always an exposition of a terrible situation . . . Whatever this terrible story is, the hero has the task of putting it right . . .

The hero, therefore, is the restorer of a healthy, conscious situation. He is the one ego that restores us to healthy, normal functioning in a situation in which all the egos of that tribe or nation are deviating from their instinctive, basic totality pattern.  It can therefore be said that the hero is an archetypal figure which presents a model of an ego functioning in accord with the Self.

—  Marie-Louise von Franz

References

von Franz, Marie-Louise. (1996). The Interpretation of Fairy Tales. Revised edition. Shambhala.

film clip from the film Alphaville: une étrange aventure de Lemmy Caution (1965) written and directed by Jean-Luc Godard.

New Moon & Uranus in Aries

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Birth of a Galaxy (1969) by Max Ernst

The New Moon on April 7 is aligned with Uranus in Aries and animates the creative field within, inciting feelings and visions of the extraordinary life we wish to manifest.   This is the first lunar cycle to follow the deep dark purging and regeneration of the previous lunar month that began with an incredibly potent Total Solar Eclipse in Pisces and peaked with  a Lunar Eclipse in Libra.  One theme of the previous lunar cycle was dredging up old wounds, patterns, attachments, and karmic complexes in need of awareness and decomposition, creating a fertile matrix through which to reveal a brighter, more essential presence.  In contrast to the blackest black sourcing of the previous lunar cycle that held the cosmic seed of potential, this New Moon in Aries gives birth to a new lunar cycle awash in flames of fiery rhapsody.  Though there are fireworks embedded in this Aries New Moon, however, the lunar cycle that commences is filled with chthonic and constrictive forces in the form of both a Mars retrograde and Mercury retrograde that will initiate during the waxing and waning of our lunar sphere.

Uranus is known as a planet that corresponds with the great revolutions of humanity, a maverick transpersonal force correlating to electrifying, liberating, shocking, and traumatic experiences.  Uranus is an awakener, a force that goes beyond human sensitivities of what feels good and nurturing versus what feels scary and troubling.  In the end when working with Uranus, it is a matter of how much you feel alive and able to radiate your being into your surroundings more so than whether or not you have the material comforts and ideal relationships in your life.  It is possible to direct the vivifying, creative matrix of Uranus toward the matter and relationships you want to develop in your life, however, and this New Moon brings an ideal opportunity to set intentions for a radical vision of what can be manifested in life.

Uranus can be a liberating force, yet in the transpersonal, unconscious realm it activates we can also find ourselves acting in scenes and faced with choices that mirror past repetitive patterns.  The liberating potential Uranus brings is the possibility that we have broken free of our old mindset and can now make a radically different and supremely empowering choice.  With this in mind, consider that Uranus in Aries is now three degrees away from its square with Pluto in Capricorn as Pluto is beginning to station retrograde.  This New Moon conjoining Uranus as a result marks a turning point in the square between Uranus and Pluto that has dominated astrology for the past several years, as Uranus will now begin to slowly separate.  While the Pluto and Uranus square is still in orb and still in effect, this New Moon offers the opportunity to embrace the Uranian side of the equation and break free from Plutonic resistance to working toward a liberated vision of what life could be.

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Elective Affinities (1933) by Rene Magritte

Mars is the ruler of this New Moon in Aries, yet the primal yang nature of Mars is full of constriction and constraint since Mars is stationing retrograde in range of a conjunction with Saturn retrograde in Sagittarius.  Mars is going to barely move during the upcoming lunar cycle, and by the time the Moon waxes full Mars will be retrograde.  There is no way to fully know at this Aries New Moon what is to come in the upcoming Mars retrograde, and though it may lead to separation or loss from some current desires, this New Moon is a perfect time to gain clarity within the structure and pressure of Saturn for the core desires to forge in the fires of the pending Mars retrograde.

Mars is also in range of a square to Neptune in Pisces, while the Aries New Moon is in square with Pluto in Capricorn.  Furthermore, the Aries New Moon is in trine to Saturn in Sagittarius as Saturn’s retrograde movement is leading it backward toward squares with both Jupiter in Virgo and Neptune in Pisces.  Mars direct yet deeply constrained in forward momentum lights an inner fire increasing in magnitude yet lacking a full release.  There is enormous potency felt, an intuition of incredible change on the horizon, yet it is a slowly simmering sense of something cooking and incubating rather than full ripeness ready for birth.

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The Cardinals are Dying (1962) by Max Ernst

Venus is in early Aries, the home of Mars, at the New Moon following a Dark Moon in Aries that occults Venus at the first degree of Aries.  Venus is applying to a first quarter trine with Mars in the blackness of the new lunation, further activating a fiery sense of purposeful potential to initiate.  Venus in Aries is a strong signifier for self-empowerment and interdependent empowerment of those we are in relationship with.  In the morning sky, Venus is still visible at the time of the Aries New Moon but on the brink of making a disappearance under the beams of the Sun.  During the upcoming lunar cycle Venus will become invisible within our solar rays, entering into a purification process that will last until the end of July 2016 when Venus reappears as an Evening Star.  This New Moon is ideal for opening to receive a message concerning expression and embodiment of your Venusian nature.

Mercury is now in Taurus, the home of Venus, where the winged messenger will reside for the next two months.  Mercury is now increasing in light as an Evening Star and in a phase that will facilitate integration of all of the old karmic material stirred up by the past lunar cycle of eclipses.  Mercury in Taurus can assist in developing grounded processes that can cultivate growth from a perspective focused upon long-term rewards rather than immediate gratification, yet Hermes in the home of Venus will also delight in sensual, hedonistic pleasure when given the opportunity.  Mercury will station retrograde at the end of April resulting in Mercury remaining in Taurus through June 12, yet the Evening Star phase occurring now is a unique part of the journey to savor.

In addition to Mercury gracing our sunset as an Evening Star, a magnificent omen appearing as the Sun falls below the horizon is Jupiter rising in the east in the tropical sign of Virgo and the constellation of the Lion.  Jupiter can now be watched in the sky all night long and offers himself as a wishing star for your grandest dreams and ambitions.

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3 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

The second face of Aries where the New Moon arises is associated with the Three of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  As the second decan of Aries holds the degrees of the exaltation of the Sun, we fittingly find a very solar image in this card of a proud figuring overlooking a numinous landscape from a mountainous peak.  There are ships heading off into the vast expanse beyond into other worlds for communication and commerce.  Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy ascribed an image made for nobility, loftiness of kingdom, and a great dominion to the second decan of Aries, and ancient texts are filled with the attribution of images linked to wealth, high rank, and rulership to this face.

The Sun as ruler of the second face of Aries is further strengthened by the Aries New Moon conjoining the exact degree of the Sun’s exaltation, enlivening the solar symbolism of this face and one’s capacity to vigorously initiate purposeful enterprises.  Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces described the focus of this face as being “the world which emanates from an individual” and “the qualities which they choose to embody” (p. 59).  Coppock wrote that the ability to create one’s own world found in this face leads to not only the attraction and magnetism of others of like-mind, but also to “the key to creating pocket realities which do not obey the laws of the collective reality field in which they exist” (p. 60).

With the New Moon conjoining Uranus, as well as in range of a conjunction with the paradigm bursting dwarf planet Eris, the opportunity found within the fiery electric aspects of this New Moon to manifest radical vision should be seized and not taken lightly.  Glory may fade, but in the fearless splendor of striving for our deepest desires despite the perpetual possibility of heartbreak we discover the sacred.  The ability to integrate the transpersonal, liberating, and shocking realm of Uranus into the creation of artistic worlds was described by Virginia Woolf in Moments of Being:

And so I go on to suppose that the shock-receiving capacity is what makes me a writer. I hazard the explanation that a shock is at once in my case followed by the desire to explain it. I feel that I have had a blow; but it is not, as I thought as a child, simply a blow from an enemy hidden behind the cotton wool of daily life; it is or will become a revelation of some order; it is a token of some real thing behind appearances; and I make it real by putting it into words.  It is only by putting it into words that I make it whole; this wholeness means that it has lost its power to hurt me; it gives me, perhaps because by doing so I take away the pain, a great delight to put the severed parts together.  Perhaps this is the strongest pleasure known to me.  It is the rapture I get when in writing I seem to be discovering what belongs to what; making a scene come right; making a character come together. From this I reach what I might call a philosophy; at any rate it is a constant idea of mine; that behind the cotton wool is hidden a pattern; that we-  I mean all human beings-  are connected with this; that the whole world is a work of art; that we are parts of the work of art.  Hamlet or a Beethoven quartet is the truth about this vast mass that we call the world. But there is no Shakespeare, there is no Beethoven; certainly and emphatically there is no God; we are the words; we are the music; we are the thing itself.  And I see this when I have a shock.

— Virginia Woolf

References

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.

Woolf, Virginia. (1976). Moments of Being. Harcourt Brace & Company.

Pisces Solar Eclipse 2016

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courtesy of The New York Public Library

O you tender ones, step now and then
into the breath that takes no heed of you:
it will part as it brushes your cheeks
and then tremble behind you, united again.

O you who are blissful, you who are whole,
you who seem the beginnings of hearts.
Bows for arrows and arrows’ aim, through tears
your smile will glow more eternal.

Don’t be afraid to suffer- take your heaviness
and give it back to the earth’s own weight;
the mountains are heavy, the oceans are heavy.

Even the trees you planted as children
have long grown too heavy; you couldn’t bear them.
But the breezes . . . and the spaces . . .

— Rainer Maria Rilke from Sonnets to Orpheus

In the darkness of change and loss, the shadow of what we consciously envision in the light of day, lies the void that sources our suffering and liberation.  When forces beyond our control overturn every aspect of our life, when what formerly held grounded security becomes flooded and dissolved in unconscious waves, we arrive in the moment.  In the morning waking up with a heart broken in the pang of death, grieving what has been sacrificed in the arising change, there remains the crisp scent of morning air tingling the skin with the sound of multitudinous birdsong heralding the dawn.  Some fall free fall into literal death, some resist and deny in delusion and addiction, while some fully aware of the suffering suffocating this world step bravely forward into the chaos with a heart open though overwhelmed by pain.  In the cavernous shifting that comes in March 2016 there is a necessary letting go.  In the release, in the ceaseless change of river currents, looms Saraswati riding her swan of the essential, communing with her peacock who devours venomous serpents and transmutes the poison into wisdom and art.

The Total Solar Eclipse in Pisces on March 8 has been deeply felt this past couple weeks, and as it arrives we will begin to sense its meaning that will reverberate far into the future.  Eclipses vary in intensity, normally happening four times a year, every six months, and though they are always more powerful than the regular New Moon or Full Moon, some are more potent than others.  This Pisces Solar Eclipse is of epic proportion, and the change that arises in its shadow can not be resisted.  The Solar Eclipse is total, less than three degrees away from the South Node of the Moon in Pisces, less than two degrees away from Chiron in Pisces.  Jupiter, the ruler of the eclipse, is conjoining the North Node of the Moon in Virgo and is opposite the Solar Eclipse by less than one degree.   There is tremendous loss and letting go associated with these aspects, going into the gone beyond of the Heart Sutra, and yet if we enter fully into this darkness there is a realignment of personal truth and vision to be uncovered.

This Total Solar Eclipse is part of the saros series 130, with the last eclipses in the series being 26 February 1998,  16 February 1980, 5 February 1962, and 25 January 1944 (the series originated in the year 1096).  If you were alive for these previous Eclipses, it is worth the time to ponder the related events and if there are any links to the current moment.  Most importantly, investigate the location of 19 degrees of Pisces in your birth chart to discern the house location as well as the aspects made.  Whatever house the Eclipse is located in will be a place of release that creates an opening for a new beginning, and whatever aspects are made (focus on conjunctions, squares, oppositions, but also take in sextile and trines) will bring sweeping change to the associated meaning of the planet or chart calculation impacted.

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Michael Maier’s Emblem #14 from the Atalanta Fugiens

Solar Eclipses have been feared for millennia because of our great solar light becoming consumed by darkness.  Ancient sky watchers who interpreted celestial phenomenon as omens noted time and time again the tumultuous chaos and change that would erupt in accordance with the blackening of the Sun.  As astrologer Bernadette Brady has taught, astrologers across ancient cultures connected dragons with eclipses, viewing the solar or lunar light as becoming consumed by a monstrous serpent.  In ancient Babylon, it was Tiamat the sea dragon of chaos who inundated the world with disorder as she turned the Sun black.  Marduk, associated with the planet Jupiter in Babylon, helped restore order by severing the great sea serpent, an archetypal theme reiterated innumerably in myths cross-culturally.

Ancient astrologers also attempted to bring greater order by learning how to predict eclipses in order to communicate forewarning, and this is how the lunar nodes were originally discovered.  However, just because one can predict an eclipse, and further know how it will impact one’s birth chart, does not bring control and order to the energies that emerge at eclipses.  Some may fight against, resist, or attempt to control the confusing drama that dawns with a Total Solar Eclipse, yet even when extremely painful it is necessary to flow with the changes in order to realign with the actual developing reality. The modern hero adventure Harry Potter contained an apt metaphor as Harry, Hermione, and Ron did not slay the dragon, but instead freed the dragon and rode the dragon into their destiny.

The word eclipse is connected to the ecliptic, the apparent path of the Sun from our perspective on Earth.  Eclipses occur when a New Moon or Full Moon falls within range of the South Node or North Node of the Moon, as the nodes are the points of intersection in which the Moon’s orbit crosses the ecliptic.  The South Node of the Moon marks the descending arc of the Moon across the ecliptic, and as a result is associated with past karma, the unconscious, and release, whereas the North Node of the Moon marks the ascending arc of the Moon across the ecliptic and symbolizes an arising point of conscious intake and evolution.  In a Total Solar Eclipse, the Moon crosses between our Earth and the Sun by zodiac degree and aligned with one of it’s own nodes, magically from our perspective appears as the same size as the Sun and blackens all light.  In keeping with the dragon symbolism of eclipses, the ascending North Node of the Moon became associated with the Head of the Dragon in astrology, while the descending South Node of the Moon became associated with the Tail of the Dragon.

Total Solar Eclipses are essentially the most powerful possible New Moons, yet there is clearly a significant difference between whether the Eclipse is aligned with the South Node of the Moon or the North Node of the Moon.  This Pisces Solar Eclipse is aligned with the South Node of the Moon, making its impact even more confusing in terms of making important decisions and holding previous plans together.  Solar Eclipses still carry the intention setting of the traditional New Moon, but a potent one like this Pisces Solar Eclipse has a strong pull toward clearing out the past in order to make space for the new. With Chiron and Ceres also conjoining the Solar Eclipse, it is likely something we had been securely holding that now needs to be released.

The lunar nodes and their symbolism as being the head and tail of a dragon are karmic significators in astrology, as what is consumed at the head is released at the tail, and what is carried in the tail fuels the desire of the head.  The Pisces Solar Eclipse being at the Tail of the Dragon magnetizes a release of built up energy, yet there is also a karmic element of doing so with compassion, giving rather than taking.  If the changes arising now feel hurtful and wounding, it is vital to compassionately nurture yourself and transmute the pain through selfless purification rather than egoic greed or anger.  With Ceres and Chiron connected to this Pisces Solar Eclipse, there is likely a huge, ancient wound of the psyche being triggered that could lead to unhealthy self destruction if not handled with care and love.

Though the South Node of the Moon in Pisces is linked to this Solar Eclipse, the North Node of the Moon is also activated because this Total Solar Eclipse is in the home of Jupiter, and Jupiter is tightly opposite the eclipse and conjoining the North Node of the Moon in Virgo.  This brings Jupiter’s focus on stabilizing vision to the Dragon’s Head of the Solar Eclipse, a point of inrushing gain and desire in the material realm that can feel amplified and stormy.  In Evolutionary Astrology, Jupiter conjoining the North Node of the Moon at this eclipse also signifies new choices to make on our path leading into the future unknown.  With Ceres, Chiron, and the Solar Eclipse in opposition to Jupiter, however, there is a wound that needs nurturing and it may be difficult to have faith and believe we can receive the help and healing we need.  This Solar Eclipse is almost exactly opposite the Virgo Solar Eclipse on September 13, 2015 that was aligned with the North Node of the Moon at the beginning of Libra.  Although not a total Solar Eclipse, since this September 2015 Eclipse was aligned with the North Node of the Moon you may find that elements of the desires you were pursuing forward at that time now need to be let go, as well as that the issues arising in September 2015 now shift directions or deepen in meaning.

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from Robert Fludd’s Ultriusque Cosmi (1617)

Since Jupiter is conjoining the North Node of the Moon and is also the traditional ruler of the Solar Eclipse, it is significant that Jupiter is in the home of Mercury and that transiting Mercury is conjoining Neptune in Pisces, the modern ruler of Pisces and this Solar Eclipse.  Mercury also being in Pisces while conjoining Neptune means that there is a throbbing oceanic wave of unconscious forces and extrasensory perception contained in this Total Solar Eclipse.  This can go along with a blissful plunge into the deep of the void, where there is blurry fogginess more so than clarity.  While the square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces has been ongoing these past several months, the Solar Eclipse tips the scales in favor of Neptune as the Sun in Pisces is in square to Saturn and Mercury is applying to a conjunction with Neptune.  It may seem as if everything is dissolving, but it is also worth realizing if you can that this is only one point of a process that will be bringing far greater change than what is happening now.  Mercury in Pisces is attuned to inner Soul and the symbolic poetry of life, and so flowing into the shifting occurring now is favored more so than resisting the currents.

The Pisces Solar Eclipse also marks the entry of Mars into Sagittarius, where it will station retrograde a month from now.  Mercury in Pisces is separating from a square to Mars in Sagittarius at this Solar Eclipse, and though wide in orb the tension of its aspect is still in effect.  While Mars in Sagittarius may want to lustfully rush forward in self-centered vision, there are far deeper realizations signified by Mercury and Neptune in Pisces that will be needed to take into account.  As a result there is likely to be a lot of confusion centered around this Total Solar Eclipse, as the changes that seem to be overwhelming now most likely are not even the changes that are actually on the way and only one shift amongst a series of unexpected shifts.  If there is a goal or target you desire to focus on going forward, it will be necessary to remain open to the need to make adjustments to additional changes that will be on the way as Mars shifts into retrograde.  As Pisces is the home of Jupiter and the exaltation of Venus, the best we can do at this Solar Eclipse is to attune to our inner feelings and be open to the unknown.

Malevich black square

Kazimir Malevich (1915) Black Square

Saturn, the giant ringed planet of structure and boundaries, death and transcendence, is occupying a pivotal place as it is in square to the Pisces Solar Eclipse, in square to Jupiter in Virgo, in square to the lunar nodes, and in trine to Uranus in Aries.  This placement of Saturn significantly ramps up the karmic significance of this Solar Eclipse and the symbolism that whatever we need to let go of and pass away as the Sun turns black will become fecund fuel for our future.  The last quarter square between Saturn and Jupiter will be building in intensity in the liminal space between this Pisces Solar Eclipse and the Libra Lunar Eclipse coming on March 23, as Saturn and Jupiter will reach their exact square on the same day as the Lunar Eclipse.  This is the second of three initiations into the last quarter square between Saturn and Jupiter, the first having occurred at the beginning of August 2015 in alignment with the Venus retrograde.  The last quarter square brings about a crisis, and as it is occurring between Jupiter and Saturn it is about the very meaning we bring to our lives and discover about ourselves.  Dane Rudhyar called the last quarter square a “crisis in consciousness” because it forces a clearing out of beliefs that no longer serve us in order to bring about reorientation of meaning.  The third and final exact square between Saturn and Jupiter will be in May of 2016, and so there are more changes to come and it will be at least until then that we will be able to gain clarity for the coinciding shifts.

Since Saturn is in square to the lunar nodes and in trine to Uranus in Aries, there can be a sense of standing at a crossroads while receiving intimations of a liberated future path.  The Pisces Total Solar Eclipse is fully capable of overwhelming the dogmatic vision that can be linked to Saturn in Sagittarius, creating space for an entirely new way of approaching our life and trajectory going forward.  The shadow side of these aspects is on the side of Sagittarius crusaders and ideologues who will react defensively and narcissistically in the face of contention and change, provoking conflict over contesting beliefs.  The mix of hard aspects between Saturn with Jupiter, Neptune, and the Solar Eclipse in combination with the trine to Uranus in Aries can feel incredibly disruptive, yet can also force us to make the necessary change now that helps us to reorient most effectively to the shifting tides of our reality.

Profoundly, while Saturn is in trine to Uranus, Jupiter in Virgo is moving retrograde toward a trine with Pluto in Capricorn.  This means that the Pisces Solar Eclipse also connects to the massive Uranus and Pluto square that has been dominating astrology for the past several years and changing the underlying structures of our lives.  Furthermore, the Pisces Solar Eclipse, as well as Chiron and Ceres in Pisces, are all in sextile to Pluto in Capricorn.  For those who are suffering with the changes arising now, the harmonious aspects to both Pluto and Uranus present at this Eclipse signifies that things are beginning to change in ways that we cannot control and do not fully understand, but in the end will connect us to a more authentic, individuated, and liberated path.

Fludd light from black

from Robert Fludd’s Ultriusque Cosmi (1617)

Chiron and Ceres are not taken into account by many in astrology, but both are intimately linked to this Total Solar Eclipse.  The myths of both Chiron and Ceres time and time again reveal themselves to be resonant with the impact made by the astrological Chiron and Ceres, and this again seems to be the case at this Total Solar Eclipse.  Both Chiron and Ceres had to make sacrifices neither felt prepared for, and yet by opening to the release they each birthed monumental change.  In the story of Chiron, it is his willing sacrifice that leads to the liberation of Prometheus.  In the story of Ceres, it is her loss of Persephone as her constant companion that leads to Persephone assuming her vital role as Queen of the Underworld.

While outrage may overcome us with the changes occurring at this eclipse, and though we may feel we deserve to be angry, it will be most important to regenerate ourselves as Ceres did in river currents so we can regain our capacity to be productive and effect change in our surroundings. Ceres is an activator between the personal planets of Mars, Venus, and Mercury with the large gaseous planets of expansion and contraction, Jupiter and Saturn.  Ceres conjoining the Pisces Solar Eclipse thus brings up the importance of nurturing all of the wild passions and perceptions being stirred up by Mercury, Venus, and Mars.  Ceres can signify both abandonment and attachment issues, wounds at our core that can make it difficult to ground and make the choices that will bring opportunities for greater happiness, as well as have the capacity to receive the love and care being offered. As the realm of Jupiter and Saturn is entering into the crisis of their last quarter square, Ceres signifies the visceral importance of nurturing our body, mind, and desires.

Chiron is an activator from the realm of Jupiter and Saturn to the far beyond of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, and so the Pisces Solar Eclipse will include experiences that propel us into the transpersonal realm, creating the need to return to the mundane world while integrating our far out realizations. Chiron’s story in myth begins with abandonment and rejection, as the half human, half horse Chiron was seen as an abomination by his divine parents and left to raise himself in mountainous caves.  For many in the collective at this Total Solar Eclipse, issues of being rejected, of not being wanted, of not feeling seen or respected for our inherent value and intelligence could come up.  Chiron teaches the lesson of resiliently following our path no matter how unorthodox it may seem to others in the materialistic mainstream of society.  Chiron not only learned from the wisdom of the stars shining above and the green growth of nature below, but gave his teachings to others and nurtured the unique, undervalued gifts of his students.  This lesson of the Solar Eclipse can be found in the dialogue of the film Brother Sun Sister Moon about Saint Francis, when Clare calls out to Francis: “I am not seeking to be understood, I want to understand! I am not asking to be loved, I want to love!”

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9 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Pisces II Decan

The second face of Pisces holds this Total Solar Eclipse, a decan associated with the 9 of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image we see a rather smug and opulent man seemingly gloating in front of his carefully exhibited nine golden cups.  The 9 of Cups is often associated with wish fulfillment, enjoying pleasure, luxury, and satisfaction, and getting what we think we want.  Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Net” to the Pisces second decan, a face in which “the central conflict is how to reconcile one’s understanding of the true nature of reality with the world-as-it-is,” a “phase in which we are challenged to reconcile beliefs, ideals and the way things are” (p. 251).  Since Mercury is conjoining Neptune at the Solar Eclipse, the perception into underlying reality signified by their union is fitting for the meaning Coppock gave to the second decan of Pisces, as the Solar Eclipse will call us to integrate this depth of awareness into our daily life.

Jupiter rules the second face of Pisces, notable at this eclipse as Jupiter is receiving the eclipse through an opposition, is conjoining the North Node of the Moon in Virgo, and is square to Saturn in Sagittarius.  Coppock illuminated in 36 Faces that the crux of this decan is that fulfillment can come from harmonizing one’s inner perceptions with one’s outer life, yet torment and grief will overcome those unable to harmonize their outer and inner worlds.  In the last quarter square between Jupiter and Saturn, Jupiter is in the superior position and receiving the karmic lessons of Saturn. Jupiter’s potent placement at the Solar Eclipse reveals that to access the fortune contained in the blackening of the Sun, we must flow like water in line with the cosmos above and the soul of the material world in the moment.  Attuning to where we are inwardly directed in the now, we can act with integrity and bridge our inner feelings and realizations with our external actions.

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References

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.

Rilke, Rainer Maria. (2004). Sonnets to Orpheus. Translated by Edward Snow. North Point Press.

New Moon in Capricorn

MK Ciurlionis Capricorn

Capricorn (1907) by Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis

New Moon in Capricorn

The New Moon in Capricorn on January 9, 2016 is fecund with the dark matter of Saturn.  Capricorn is an inwardly directed sign of initiating in the multitudinous manifestations of the earth element, the home of Saturn and its significations of structure, boundaries, determination, and transcendence.  This particular Capricorn New Moon draws us into internal depths with greater magnetism than normal, as the New Moon is conjunct Pluto in Capricorn at the same time Mercury retrograde is conjunct Pallas Athene in Capricorn.  We have the opportunity to sift through the desires behind our ambitions at this time, discerning where our motivations are coming from.  Are we attempting to control a situation or manipulate a circumstance in order to avoid taking responsibility for our own internal issues?  Or are we securely being accountable for our genuine feelings and past behavior that has led to our current moment- if so we can seize the darkness of this New Moon in order to clear out what is no longer serving us and envision empowering goals that lead toward a natural sense of power.

Saturn in Sagittarius, lord of this New Moon, is watching Venus separate by a degree at the time of the lunation.  As Venus is separating from Saturn, she is simultaneously applying to a trine with Uranus in Aries.  Uranus is further hooked into the New Moon by being in range of a square to both the New Moon and Pluto in Capricorn.  The past week of the waning Moon held numerous intense, confrontational astrological aspects that could have led to harsh judgment from others as well as self criticism.  By owning our part in the drama, and detaching from projected diatribes we are not responsible for, there is a fiery force found here that can liberate us out of past patterns of victimization.  In the shifting commerce of our collective, as old economic paradigms are falling apart, this New Moon activates awareness of how to find our place within the new business, political, and other societal models arising.

Though Saturn has begun to separate from its last quarter square to Neptune in Pisces (to return again months from now), this is our first New Moon since their square in which one of them is running the show. Since Saturn at center stage has been in the middle of great intensity, the Saturnine side of the square associated with boundaries, limits, structures, separation, and release is emphasized over the boundlessness of Neptune.  In combination with the fact that this New Moon is also activating the first quarter square between Pluto in Capricorn and Uranus in Aries, we could feel overwhelmed with conceptions around change, from worry that we will not be able to manifest the unknown future of our desires, to fear that circumstances are changing in undesirable ways that feel out of control.   As Saturn in Sagittarius is visionary, it is imperative to focus on what we want and formulate plans with awareness that determined effort is now required.  With Venus and Saturn in the domicile of Jupiter, and Jupiter closely conjoining the North Node of the Moon and in trine to the New Moon, despite difficulties there is underlying support for working hard with trust in the twists of fate to come.

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Ascesa by Gustave Dore, from The Divine Comedy

In the Face of Mountains

In spite of warnings from many astrologers not to initiate things during Mercury retrograde, this Capricorn New Moon contains an opening to an expansive new direction fraught with challenges requiring focused resilience.  Again, since the New Moon is separating from a square to Uranus in Aries and applying to a trine with Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon in Virgo, the signs point toward breakthrough events, encounters, and corresponding insights that open us to new possibilities.  In addition, there is a stabilizing sextile present between the New Moon and Chiron in Pisces.  There is no doubt a looming mountain on our horizon to climb, yet the force we must generate to surmount forthcoming barriers will elevate our entire being to heightened ability to accomplish the tasks at hand.

Stirring things up further is Eris, as the dwarf planet named for the goddess of discord stations direct on January 10, 2016 at 22º18′ Aries, in range of a square to the Capricorn New Moon.   Eris is new to astrology and her meaning has not yet been fully established, so as she stations in square to this New Moon we can notice any correlations in our lives that seem connected. Up until now, most astrologers are applying the meaning of Eris in myth to her significance in astrology, with some such as Henry Seltzer adding in meaning of shattering paradigms and standing up for oneself with radical, harsh assertiveness.  Eris has been retrograde since July 20, 2015 when she stationed retrograde at 23º24′ Aries.  This is significant because the astrological atmosphere at the end of July was full of strife, with both Venus and Uranus also stationing retrograde then.  Eris stationing now will push us to stand up for ourselves and express our needs free of the past restrictions we have been discarding over the past five months.

Furthermore, with Mars at home in Scorpio there is amplified encouragement for expressing the full force of our desires, leading to potential conflict.  Mars is coming into a trine with Neptune in Pisces at the time of the New Moon, bringing an idealistic crusader element to the mix.  As Mars is also applying to a conjunction with Juno, this could enflame passions for better or worse in relationship.  The astrological aspects at this New Moon do not have much in the way of conflict mediation, so it will be vital to actively bear in mind the likelihood of discord breaking out.  The positive side of all of this can lead to an activation of our will force to be tenacious in pursuit of what we and our greater community need not only for survival but for enhancement of life.

Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc (1879) by Jules Basiten-Lepage

Visioning by the Dark of the Moon

This Capricorn New Moon plays up the visioning side of Capricorn through Mercury being retrograde in Capricorn, in conjunction with Pallas Athene in Capricorn.  This upcoming lunar cycle takes us through the Mercury retrograde, as the forthcoming Full Moon in Leo will occur shortly before Mercury stations direct.  When we apply the old imagery of a sea goat to standard significations of Capricorn being associated with cardinal initiation, matters of earth, and Saturn, the image of a goat that has a mermaid tail dipped in the water goes well with the internal, divining quality also found in Capricorn.  The New Moon supports getting down at the root level of our surrounding structures, discerning the patterns at work in the various systems operating in our life.  Since Mercury is retrograde there may be omens found in unexpected places, and so an open mind willing to take creative leaps of thought can better receive messages associated with where to focus, what to modify, and which path to take forward.

There is also a connection between Mercury retrograde, this Capricorn New Moon, and Black Moon Lilith.  Astrologers enamored with Black Moon Lilith have been consumed by the mean calculation of Black Moon Lilith being in the middle of a square to Pluto in Capricorn and an opposition to Uranus in Aries.  However, this New Moon also carries a significant location of the true calculation of Black Moon Lilith to mind-  the true Black Moon Lilith is conjunct Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon in Virgo, and in trine to Mercury retrograde in Capricorn. Simultaneously, the aspects made by these two locations of Black Moon Lilith suggest parts of ourselves with a history of feeling judged and ostracized have an opportunity to come out of exile and into the full scope of our personality.  This may feel awkward and even painful, and these exiled parts could be so deeply embedded within our soul that it feels as if they haven’t come out for lifetimes.  Mercury retrograde in Capricorn can help us peel off the layers of conditioning that have made us feel judged, with self acceptance being the balm.

pents03

3 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Capricorn II Decan

The second face of Capricorn where the New Moon emerges is ruled by Mars and associated with the 3 of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In the image of the 3 of Pentacles we see a highly skilled sculptor in process of creating a divinely inspired masterwork in a monastery.  There is a consultation taking place between the artisan and authorities associated with the institution, with carefully drawn plans for the masterpiece on display.  This is a fitting image for the Capricorn II decan as it is a face in which great works can be created through collaboration, careful planning, and incredible effort.

Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Pyramid” to the second decan of Capricorn, as it is a face in which the magnum opus is completed, sublime works of material manifestation whose perfect form almost appears inconceivable to create in hindsight.  Coppock wrote that as the focus of this face is on “structuring the territory itself,” there is a necessity for blueprints as well as hard work in collaboration with numerous resources:

For this phase of creation to proceed according to plan, laws must be carved and discipline enforced. The project, the vision, thus creates laws of action necessary for its proper realization. It is thus a face of discipline, for cathedrals, like the one pictured in the Three of Pentacles, are works whose construction spans entire decades …

This face is both a spur to action and a binding. While many bindings take the form of a forbiddance, the one which takes place here is instead a compulsion to act in accordance with the blueprint. This decan binds one, or many, to the accomplishment of a daunting task. Yet one must be careful tying oneself to great works, for such decisions have enduring consequences …

Yet ambition and hubris are not easily separated. The two often appear together, and without ambition there is no grand blueprint nor energy to execute it. Ambition must be distilled from hubris over and over again to achieve purity of purpose.  (p. 217)

Not only is Mars the ruler of this face, but the New Moon in Capricorn is also occurring in the exaltation of Mars.  Mars at the time of the New Moon is further strengthened by being at home in Scorpio and so in possession of its full arsenal.  As previously mentioned, now that Mars has separated from its square with Mercury stationing retrograde earlier this past week, Mars is now applying to a trine with Neptune in Pisces and a conjunction with Juno.  With the forthcoming waxing lunar cycle occurring with Mercury retrograde, this New Moon period is opportune for embarking on long term projects that will require sustaining effort and overcoming obstacles over an extended period of time, rather than work that needs to be rushed to completion.  The trine between the New Moon in Capricorn with Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon in Virgo suggests a door is opening to reveal a work objective worthy of our sustained effort and commitment.

References

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.

 

 

Mercury Retrograde in Saturn’s Home

Dore_Raven15

Illustration for The Raven by Gustave Dore

Hermes I call, whom Fate decrees to dwell in the dire path which leads to deepest hell

O Bacchic Hermes, progeny divine of Dionysius, parent of the vine,
And of celestial Aphrodite Paphian queen, dark eye-lash’d Goddess of a lovely mien:
Who constant wand’rest thro’ the sacred feats
where hell’s dread empress, Persephone, retreats;
To wretched souls the leader of the way when Fate decrees, to regions void of day:
Thine is the wand which causes sleep to fly, or lulls to slumb’rous rest the weary eye;
For Persephone’s thro’ Tart’rus dark and wide gave thee forever flowing souls to guide.
Come, blessed pow’r the sacrifice attend, and grant our mystic works a happy end.

— Hermes Chthonian from The Orphic Hymns

Mercury Retrograde

When Mercury shifts retrograde our angelic trickster slips into his role as psychopomp, the guide of souls who can journey into the underworld and back again. On a personal level this coincides with a turn within toward awareness not as readily available when Mercury is moving direct, a process that can birth new presence and shed old habits as Mercury reemerges on the other side (Mercury will station direct on January 25 and leave the retrograde shadow zone on February 17).  Mercury retrograde is not a time to fear but rather an opening to symbolic perception that can divine messages within the darkness of our dreams as well as in the signs that appear during our sunlit daily journeying.  The Mercury retrograde that begins on January 5, 2016 initiates at the first degree of Aquarius, but spends the majority of the time in the second half of Capricorn.  Aquarius and Capricorn are both the homes of Saturn, and so this Mercury retrograde will be deeply linked with the significations we associate with that old devil, Saturn.  The link to Saturn is further intensified by Mercury crossing the South Node of Saturn while retrograde,and then returning to conjoin the South Node of Saturn again once moving direct.

Modern astrology gives the rulership of Aquarius to Uranus, and one result of this is to associate Aquarius with future-oriented, liberated forms of thought.  Yet this same meaning can be found through Aquarius being the diurnal home of Saturn, a place where Saturn detaches from the conditioned thought forms of consensus culture to develop systems of thought that break free from the constraints of the status quo.  Mercury free from other influences stationing retrograde in Aquarius would support reception of a message beyond self-centered subjectivity, in an objective and clarified mind frame detached from passions and able to rationalize feelings.  Yet instead the stationing of Mercury is painted in bold, impassioned colors by Mars in Scorpio forming an exact square at the time Mercury stations retrograde.  As Mars in Scorpio heats the emotional climate of Mercury stationing retrograde, our feelings could override our ability to be objective or communicate with restraint.  The eruption of cathartic feelings at the dawn of this retrograde will be borne by Mercury into our underworld for deep processing and purification.

The movement of Mercury from Aquarius back into Capricorn is united by both signs being the home of Saturn.  Mercury in the territory of Saturn can readily focus on systems and structures in our life, including rumination upon time and space.  Mercury stationing retrograde while bearing the water of Aquarius holds the promise of illumination that transcends our everyday conception of time, saturating our direct perception of the moment with lucidity.  As Mercury moves backward into Capricorn, goat horns protrude through the messenger’s head as the role of water bearer is released in order to invest fully into the surrounding material realm with its lusty nature.  In Capricorn, where Mercury spends the majority of its time this retrograde, Mercury shifts our focus toward achievement and ambition as well as the degree of determination and discipline that will be needed for manifestation.

In addition to entering the heart of the Sun while retrograde in Capricorn, Mercury will also form conjunctions with Pallas Athene and Pluto, and in fact will station direct conjoining Pluto.  Around the recent solstice Mercury was first conjunct Pallas Athene, and in the first week of its retrograde movement Mercury will again become conjunct with Pallas Athene in Capricorn.  Here the creative visioning of Pallas Athene combines with the symbolic perception of Mercury retrograde for penetrating perception into the structural and systematic foundations surrounding us.  In her classic Asteroid Goddesses Demetra George wrote:

Aesthetically, Pallas Athene is very strong in Capricorn representing the ability to formulate precise structures (molds) into which raw creative energy can coalesce.  Instant manifestation is often possible and can be seen as a magical process. Here, Pallas excels in the arts of architecture, drafting, and sculpture.  Capricorn’s association with time connects Pallas Athene with the art of timing- being in the right place at the right time.  Politically, this is a defender of law and order. There is a strong power drive for authority over others in political and social institutions.  The wisdom of Pallas in Capricorn is the wisdom of order- putting things in their proper sequence (p. 105).

The Sun in Capricorn is applying closely to a conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn and square to Uranus in Aries when Mercury stations retrograde, and then in the weeks ahead after Mercury passes back across the face of the Sun, Mercury will eventually come into a square with Uranus in Aries and then will station direct in conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn.  As a result, this Mercury retrograde activates and re-triggers the first quarter square between Pluto and Uranus that has been dominating our astrological landscape for the past seven years, most exactly in the past four years.  As predicted the Pluto-Uranus square has correlated with seismic shifts around our planet, and so this Mercury retrograde is profound for reflecting upon the immensity of change that has passed through our lives.  Furthermore, it’s a potent period for reorienting our plans and structures in greater harmony with the insights we receive for how our world has been altered and continues to change.

Dore_Inferno1

Illustration for Dante’s Inferno by Gustave Dore

Does it really exist, Time the Destroyer?
When, on the peaceful mountain, does it crush the fortress?
And this heart, always the gods’ possession,
when does the Demiurge pillage it?

Are we really so anxiously brittle
as Fate would have us believe?
Is childhood, so deep, so rich with promise,
in the roots- later on- stilled?

Ah, the spectre of transience,
through the guilelessly receptive
it passes like wisps of smoke.

And we, with our driving, our striving,-
the abiding Strengths assume
that the gods have some need for us.

— Rainer Maria Rilke from Sonnets to Orpheus

Mercury Stations Retrograde

Hermes is a god of boundaries, with a tradition of demarcating divisions between profane and sacred territory, between rural and urban landscapes, between the graveyards of the dead and the playgrounds of the living.  When Mercury stations retrograde, this normally swift planet gives off the appearance of putting down roots into solid stillness, and as it disappears with a flash of light at sunset there is a cosmic message transmitted.  As Mercury moves retrograde under the beams of the Sun it is not visible, and being in between our planet Earth and our fiery Sun it is symbolically considered to be journeying through our underworld.  Demetra George has connected Mercury retrograde with the work by Jungian Murray Stein on the borderline spaces we inhabit during transitions and gaps between conscious realities.  As Hermes is a god of thresholds and passages between realms, Demetra George has taught that the stationing of Mercury retrograde marks a liminal time in which we are separated from a clear sense of where we are, as Hermes guides us through a transition of an old identity dying and the emergence of a new sense of Self.

This Mercury retrograde primarily occurring in Capricorn introduces the Mercurial theme of the earth element in 2016, as the following two Mercury retrograde periods this year will also occur in the earth signs of Taurus and Virgo.  This brings to mind the unconscious symbolism of the forest as well as other oracular associations with soulful matter such as rocks, plants, and other elements of our natural world.  Capricorn is distinguished in part from the other earth signs through it being the home of Saturn, and the transiting Saturn in Sagittarius is fittingly forming some of the most significant astrological aspects during this Mercury retrograde.  Transiting Saturn being in Sagittarius colors Mercury’s time in Capricorn with a more strident, visionary vibration.  The last quarter square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces that has been an intense astrological factor over the past couple of months continues to be so during this Mercury retrograde, and in fact becomes all the more dramatic with the passage of Venus triggering their dynamic.

As Mercury stations retrograde, Venus is applying tightly to a square with Neptune, within minutes.  Venus is also four degrees away from Saturn in Sagittarius as Mercury stations, and as Mercury moves retrograde over the following week Venus will conjoin Saturn on January 8 at a Dark Moon in Capricorn.  The square between Venus and Neptune portends a crisis in our relationships, and as Venus is overcoming Neptune in the square while also approaching Saturn, the dreamy unconditional side of our feelings can be overcome by the conditions of circumstance in front of our face, what we feel are the cold hard facts of reality.  However, the square of Neptune in Pisces to Venus and Saturn combining in Sagittarius also reveals that there is a deeper and more far reaching truth to discern, such as the fact that what we are perceiving to be our reality is based more upon our current beliefs than actual reality.  While Saturn can bring up feelings of wanting to cut something off and separate, it is also true that Venus can soften up the old ringed devil for reconciliation.  At a higher potential, we can utilize these aspects during the Mercury retrograde to penetrate into our subjective feelings and perceptions and unveil a vaster conception of personal truth.

At the outset of Mercury stationing retrograde, with Mars in Scorpio in square to Mercury in Aquarius, we will want to keep in mind that disillusionment and feelings of disorientation are likely to come up in our relationships and that this amplified aspect between Mars and Mercury can erupt easily into bitter conflict.  While Mercury is in Aquarius, there is a risk that the detached side of Aquarius could combine with the fury of Mars at full force in Scorpio, resulting in explosive fights.  Yet the anger coming out in conflicts at this time has a source within, and it will be the task of this Mercury retrograde to journey within and explore the full ramifications of where these feelings are coming from.  It is important to realize that the feelings and thoughts dislodged at the beginning of this Mercury retrograde by Mars square Mercury, Venus and Saturn square Neptune among other things, is not the end of the story but merely the beginning.  Mercury will be journeying in the retrograde all the way back to unite with Pluto in Capricorn, and so there will be a vital message for us to receive about ourselves connected to the impassioned feelings provoked at the outset of this Mercury retrograde.

There is also the potential that we can rekindle passion from the Mars square in order to then harness corresponding desire to determined effort going forward.  Mercury retrograde in the home of Saturn will reward hard work and effort, and so the square from Mars to Mercury can jolt us into awareness of where we need to concentrate and work with full force.  This square between Mercury and Mars is even more intense as it is the second one to occur within the same week.  The first square in this cycle was on December 29, 2015 with Mercury at its maximum elongation as an Evening Star at 28° of Capricorn, and Mars at the same degree of Libra.  There is something hugely significant to find within this square between Mercury and Mars that will fuel our work in the year ahead.  Mars and Mercury will form their third square in the beginning of March 2016 with Mercury at the very end of Aquarius and Mars and the very end of Scorpio.  It may take until this later time a few months from now to fully come to terms with the work that will be involving this intense aspect between Mercury and Mars, and in the meantime we will need to persevere in the face of any daunting obstacles.

The other major astrological aspect occurring as Mercury stations retrograde is that a couple of days after Mercury stations retrograde, Jupiter in Virgo will also station retrograde closely conjoining the North Node of the Moon in Virgo.  There is a powerful connection here with Mercury as the conjunction between Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon is occurring in Virgo. In fact, as Mercury moves retrograde into Capricorn this connection will intensify as Mercury will be receiving Jupiter through a trine.  With Mercury in the home of Saturn, Saturn in the home of Jupiter, and Jupiter in the home of Mercury during this retrograde, despite some of the otherwise challenging aspects there also appears to be a confluence of forces supporting us finding a vision for our life that will bring us a fulfilling sense of purpose.  Jupiter moving retrograde also brings an inner visioning in terms of reorienting toward a more authentic personal truth.  Jupiter was previously retrograde in Leo between early December 2014 and early April 2015 if you want to contemplate events associated with the prior Jupiter retrograde.  Jupiter will remain retrograde until the beginning of May 2016, at which time it will station direct in range of an opposition to Neptune in Pisces and a square with Saturn in Sagittarius.

mercury passing in front of the sun

Mercury Passing in Front of the Sun by Giacomo Balla (1914)

Only he who has also raised
his lyre among shadows
may find his way back
to infinite praise.

Only he who has eaten with the dead
from their stores of poppy
will never again lose
the softest chord.

And though the pool’s reflection
often blurs before us:
Know the image.

Only in the double realm
do the voices become
eternal and mild.

–Rainer Maria Rile from Sonnets to Orpheus

Mercury into the Sun

Mercury’s inferior conjunction occurs when Mercury retrograde reaches the same zodiac degree as the Sun, and as Mercury during its retrograde is passing between our Earth and Sun, I am part of the astrological community who interprets this as being similar to a New Mercury.  This is a moment of cazimi, in which Mercury is reborn in the radiance of our solar light, regenerated and purified within the golden rays of the fiery Sun.  On a personal level, this is a moment of new conception regarding the significations of Mercury within our life, and a powerful moment within to attune to an oracular message we may receive.  In Pacific standard time, this magical Mercury moment occurs at 6:05 am on January 14, 2016, while in the Central European time zone this will occur at 3:05 pm on January 14.

Mercury and the Sun will be at 23º50′ tightly in trine with Jupiter in Virgo at 23º10′ and the true North Node of the Moon in Virgo at 23º30′.  Amazingly, the waxing crescent Moon at the moment of Mercury cazimi is at 22º30′ of Pisces, closely applying to a conjunction with the South Node of the Moon, a sextile with the Mercury and Sun conjunction, and an opposition to Jupiter in Virgo.   These aspects are remarkably suggestive of the interpretation that Dane Rudhyar gave to the Crescent Moon as fighting off the ghosts of the past, as there is an activation of past patterns of awareness at the same time we sense new choices and opportunities linked to a reborn vision of meaning.  While we may feel a pull back toward the normalcy of old patterns, we can consciously with determination propel ourselves into the unknown with faith despite the fears arising that we will not have what we need to be successful in the new direction.  The close trine between Mercury conjoining the Sun and Jupiter conjoining the North Node of the Moon indicates that we will in fact be able to access the resources we need to successfully transition in the new, unfamiliar direction.

In addition, the inferior conjunction of Mercury will be almost exactly conjunct the geocentric South Node of Saturn, and a few degrees away from a conjunction with the geocentric South Node of Pluto.  This intensifies the connection of this Mercury retrograde cycle with the full archetypal arcs of both Saturn and Pluto.  In evolutionary astrology, Jeff Green teaches that the South Nodes of Saturn and Pluto being in Capricorn symbolizes the vast shadow cast by the patriarchal paradigm that seized power from a matriarchal collective ages ago.  Mercury retrograde united with the Sun at the South Node of Saturn suggests penetrating insight into the foundation of the structural systems surrounding us will be available.  It also portends we can discern how our behavior in the moment has been conditioned by the vast history of hierarchical power structures vying for power, control, and dominance.

Finally, there are additional indications that Venus is demanding attention from us during this Mercury retrograde, and that the retrograde commencing with a tight square between Venus and Neptune is a sign that we have a deep message regarding our Venusian nature to uncover.  At the time of Mercury’s inferior conjunction, Venus in Sagittarius is separating from a trine with Uranus in Aries and applying to a square with Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon in Virgo, as well as a square with the Moon in Pisces and the South Node of the Moon.  Well, we’re always focused on Venus and looking for messages about her, right?  Nonetheless, Venus is holding aspects suggestive of being at a crossroads at the time of this Mercury inferior conjunction, and as she will be received by Jupiter it is yet another sign of the Jupiter conjunction with the North Node of the Moon in Virgo being a beacon of light leading us out of the Mercurial underworld.

Dore Gustave Inferno_Canto_1_spirit_guide

Virgil leads Dante by Gustave Dore, from the Divine Comedy

We puzzle over flower, vine-leaf, fruit.
They speak not just the language of the year.
A thing of succor rises from the dark
and its hues may gleam with the jealousy

of the dead, those who strengthen the earth.
What do we know of their share in it?
It has long been their practice to enrich
the loam with their own free marrow.

The question is: do they do it willingly? . . .
Does this fruit, a work of sullen slaves,
push through clenched to us, to their masters?

Or are they the masters, sleeping among
the roots and granting us from their profusion
this hybrid of mute strength and kisses?

— Rainer Maria Rilke from Sonnets to Orpheus

Mercury Stations Direct

Mercury ultimately will station direct on January 25, 2016 at 14º55′ of Capricorn, closely conjoining Pluto at 15º54′ of Capricorn.  As Mercury appears to stand still when stationing, this means we will have an extended period of Mercury and Pluto being a degree apart (roughly January 21 – February 1, 2016).  On January 20 when the Sun ingresses into Aquarius, Mercury retrograde will also form an exact square with Uranus in Aries, and Mercury will still be in range of a square to Uranus when it finally stations direct.  There is deep reckoning to be found in this stationing direct of Mercury, much more so than normal as it is intimately bound to the influence of the Pluto-Uranus square.  This may or may not be a pleasant time depending upon your circumstances, but there is no doubt that an aspect of your ineffable soul will be available to perceive.  Whether you are able to schedule some downtime for yourself or whether you will be forced to be engaged in numerous intense activities, there is immense catharsis found in these aspects surrounding Mercury stationing direct.  There is also a harmonious sextile formed between Mars in Scorpio with the stationing Mercury in Capricorn, suggesting that a level of resolution could be reached concerning whatever was stirred up by Mars being square to Mercury at the beginning of the retrograde.

Adding to the vast depth of this time is that Mercury will be stationing direct closely conjoining the geocentric South Node of Jupiter, and also a couple of degrees away from a conjunction with its own geocentric South Node of Mercury.  This is yet another potent activation of the Jupiter archetype during this Mercury retrograde, and points toward Jupiter taking on the role of a guiding shepherd.  As Mercury begins to move direct again as an explorative Morning Star, it will once again begin applying to a trine with Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon in Virgo.  Those who have been working hard with due diligence and determination during the Mercury retrograde will be rewarded during this final period of Jupiter in Virgo receiving Mercury in Capricorn through a trine.  By willingly descending into underworld darkness during the Mercury retrograde, we will reascend nourished by a regenerated vision of life focused upon our essential fulfillment.

References

George, Demetra with Bloch, Douglas. (1986). Asteroid Goddesses. ACS.

Rilke, Rainer Maria. (2004). Sonnets to Orpheus. Translated by Edward Snow. North Point Press.

Full Moon in Cancer

full moon chinese

Full Moon by Tao Lengyue

Cancer Full Moon

The Full Moon in Cancer on December 25, 2015 occurs on the same day that Uranus in Aries stations direct.  It is also the Full Moon that falls equidistant between Lunar Eclipses, in square to both:  the total Lunar Eclipse in Aries at 4°38′ that happened September 28, 2015 and the annular Lunar Eclipse in Libra at 3°10′ that will happen on March 23, 2016. There is as a result an electrified quality to this Full Moon that reopens past memories for reprocessing whether you are alone or in a holiday gathering.  As we grow older we realize that the story we tell about our life changes across time.  Our past is not bound in a fixed form but rather is as fluid in fluctuation as this present, passing moment.  Uranus stationing direct at this Cancer Full Moon can break us out of a perspective regarding our life we had managed to convince ourselves was an unchanging truth.  Feeling into our emotional bodies in the full light of this lunation, there is something to be found that metamorphoses our viewpoint regarding our past and our trajectory forward, a deeper quality of soul to embody within the vehicle of our body.

In our Northern Hemisphere December 25 is a day in which our Sun is beginning to increase in light, and so there is a loveliness in celebrating the return of light with a Cancer Full Moon.  Cancer is the home of the Moon, and so this Full Moon has a potent pull to draw us into our emotional body and the full range of feeling we are receiving.  The reflection of our Sun’s light by our Moon signifies our moment to moment consciousness and awareness, for in the waxing and waning lunar cycle we correspondingly experience the creation and destruction of our thoughts and emotions.  In a catalytic astrological atmosphere such as today, many are coping with their fear over the dismantling of systems they had believed to be secure by fixating on perceptions and beliefs that bring a feeling of comforting control.  This changes the nature of thoughts and feelings from being fluid into a frozen bedrock anchoring repetitive personal patterns.

Uranus is here now to strike and shatter whatever has become overly hardened and crystallized.  When Uranus stations following the Full Moon, it will be close to an exact square with Pluto in Capricorn and will reignite the issues related to the square between Pluto and Uranus that have been dominating astrology for the past seven years.  Uranus stationing direct brings content forward into conscious awareness much farther back than seven years, however, so much so that memories that feel like they have been buried for lifetimes could erupt from within.  This doesn’t mean that everything is going to change overnight in a liberating reverie of Uranus, or that everything will be transformed in a regenerative matrix of Pluto.  It does mean that this Full Moon is shining light into the deepest reaches of our ineffable darkness within, and here we may find buried treasure.

In addition to being the domicile of the Moon, Cancer is a sign signifying mothers and the womb that gave birth to all of us, family, ancestors, the vulnerability of our raw emotions, and the protective shell we utilize to shield our feelings from being wounded.  Being a Full Moon, of course this means the Sun is in the polarity place of Capricorn, the home of Saturn.   Pluto is also in the home of Saturn, and Saturn meanwhile is engaged in square with Neptune that amplifies the dissonance of the square between Pluto and Uranus.  Considering all of the associated calamity that can go with the pairs of Pluto-Uranus and Neptune-Saturn being in hard aspects, there is grace to be found through this Cancer Full Moon applying to a trine with Neptune in Pisces.  Just like Uranus is shattering the structure of Pluto, Neptune has been dissolving the boundaries of Saturn, and so this Cancer Full Moon could correlate with messages from beyond appearing through the realm of family and our ancestors.

Hiroshige,_New_Year's_Eve_foxfires_at_the_changing_tree,_Oji,_1857

Hiroshige (1857) New Year’s Eve foxfires at the changing tree

There is in fact a Grand Water Trine found in this Full Moon through the Moon in Cancer, Neptune in Pisces, and Juno conjoining the true location of Black Moon Lilith in Scorpio.  The corner of this triangle held by Juno and Black Moon Lilith is rich to contemplate, a fertile field of deep emotions concerning our past and present relationships and times we have felt oppressed, misunderstood, cast out, and projected upon.  Yet this Juno, Black Moon Lilith point is also full of desire for burning, shared intimacy with a partner willing to accept us and commit to working to understand us.  As we know, the wounds of our childhood oftentimes resurface in our adult relationships and repetitive relational projections and patterns we engage in.  This Full Moon holds potential for tapping into our feelings regarding old wounds and a sense of how they impact our current relational behavior.

Uranus stationing direct in Aries holds numerous aspects activating the themes of this Grand Water Trine, as Uranus is in range of an opposition to the mean (averaged) location of Black Moon Lilith while Saturn in Sagittarius is beginning to enter into range of a trine with Uranus (this Saturn-Uranus trine will become one of the major themes in 2016 eventually).  Furthermore, Mars in Libra is separating from an opposition with Uranus, while Mercury in Capricorn is separating from a  square with Uranus.  These aspects are all potent for activating a vital aspect of our essential nature demanding attention and actualization.  As a result, we will have strong feelings of wanting this essentiality acknowledged by others and so it will be most helpful to have creative outlets available to transmit the energy through.  If overcome by frustration of not being in a position to fully gain or express what you desire, work to find smaller scale steps and situations to get things moving.

While Mars and Mercury are both separating from hard aspects with Uranus at the time of the Full Moon, Mercury in Capricorn is applying to a square with Mars in Libra that further intensifies the atmosphere with potential conflict.  While it is possible the square between Mars and Mercury will correlate with arguments and heated rhetoric, it is also an ideal aspect for initiating projects that will require hard work, focused concentration, and collaboration with others.  There may be some clashes with others to work through when going after what we desire, but this first quarter square between Mars and Mercury supports planning and developing the structures we will need to have in place to work through any difficulties that could arise.

Hiroshige_100_views_edo_107

Utagawa Hiroshige (1856) 100 Views of Edo, no. 107, part 4, Winter

There is in fact a long range vision that can be accessed at this Cancer Full Moon through a stabilizing trine between Mercury in Capricorn with the conjunction of Jupiter in Virgo with the North Node of the Moon in Virgo.  Mercury in Capricorn is an evening star that is in position to synthesize the extraordinary vision that can be activated through Jupiter uniting with the North Node of the Moon in the home and exaltation of Mercury.  Mercury is also now within its retrograde shadow zone, and in a couple of weeks on January 5, 2016 during the waning lunar cycle Mercury will station retrograde.   As a result of the upcoming Mercury retrograde cycle, this is the first of three trines we will experience between Mercury in Capricorn with Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon in Virgo in the next month and a half.  Pay attention to the messages you receive at this Full Moon as they can help you begin to get a sense of the new sense of meaning you can develop during this upcoming harmonious period between Mercury and Jupiter.

The supportive, stabilizing trine between Mercury and Jupiter at this Cancer Full Moon is further accentuated through both Mercury and Jupiter being in a sextile with Venus in Scorpio.  Venus in Scorpio is willing to be brutally honest if necessary to get to the bottom line dynamics of whatever relationships we are engaged with at this Full Moon, yet the harmonious sextile Venus forms with Mercury and Jupiter at this time suggests there will be a way to communicate in a manner that will facilitate our partner listening to us rather than dismissing us from a place of defensiveness.  These aspects are also supportive for going within and intuitively feeling and envisioning from a place beyond the types of consensus beliefs and morality that repress our ability to create the life we want to live.

Astrologer Jeff Green, who was born with Venus retrograde in Scorpio conjoining his ascendant, wrote in his second Pluto book that Venus in Scorpio individuals radiate an aura “analogous to the eye of the eagle,” as they are “uniquely structured to have the ability to focus on the large picture while at the same time telescopically zooming in on its point of focus” (p. 161).  If we work with what Venus in Scorpio is offering through her sextile with Mercury, Jupiter, and the North Node of the Moon, and trine with the South Node of the Moon in Pisces, we can feel within our inner core all of the accumulated past wounds and desires that have created the various relationship projections we have been making, as well as discern the choices and relationships to focus on moving forward.  Venus in Scorpio can enflame intense focus on an object of desire, but also making the time to sit with and heal our past wounding will enable us to create healthier, mutually empowering relationships that will support us going after whatever is in alignment with our evolving sense of growth.

2 of cups by pixie

2 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Cancer I Decan

The Full Moon falls in the first face of Cancer, a decan associated with the Two of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In the image we find two lovers coming together with shared passion on an equal level, with a kundalini caduceus of intertwining snakes and a winged lion arising in the space between their merging desire.   Fittingly for the erotic energy found in the symbolism of this image, the first face of Cancer is ruled by Venus.  Yet Venus is not only about the romanticism of Eros and Psyche, but rather on a deeper level Venus signifies the inner values and needs that source all of our relationship dynamics with others.

Astrologer Austin Coppock in his book on the decans entitled 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Mother and Child” to the Cancer I decan, as he wrote that the face holds the hungers of our emotions and biology, the womb that gives birth to us and all of our resulting needs.  Coppock analyzed that we find both the nurturing mother in the first face of Cancer as well as the childless, protective figure of Artemis and the principle that as the Moon waxes she gives but as she wanes she takes away. Coppock further connected the themes of mother and child to the pursuit of romantic love found in the Two of Cups since “it is the perfect support, half-remembered from the womb, that gives rise to the human dream of similarly nursing bonds between committed partners” (p. 104):

Though thoroughly romanticized, the actual dynamic entailed herein is a mixture of hunger and sweetness.  Love and need blend together here.  Yet there is an alchemy, for the energy circulates between the two participants.  It is as if the two reside in each other’s wombs, simultaneously devouring and being devoured, yet neither is depleted.  It is this miracle of entwined vessels that many long for when they dream of the love that will save and strengthen them.  The possibility of this manner of union can be seen in this decan, yet success in this matter requires more than longing  (p.105).

Venus in Scorpio is in a whole sign trine to this Full Moon in Cancer, and as the Moon begins to wane through the sign of Cancer it will form an exact trine with Venus.  The more we can move away from a compulsive, Scorpio need of Venus to consume and control our relationships and open to feelings focused on understanding our relationships and supporting them with what they need for their own development, the more we can open to the potential available with this Full Moon to develop and deepen the relationships that can become mutually empowering, encouraging, and nourishing.

With Uranus stationing direct in Aries, be ready to receive sudden insight into the relationships you have engaged in across your lifetime, including with family, friends, and romantic partners, and the myriad ways in which the associated needs, desires, and issues created various relationship patterns you became attached to repeating.  With awareness and being willing to stay present with these feelings, we can create a shift away from old, outworn patterns toward new opportunities for growth seen through the sextile between Venus in Scorpio with Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon in Virgo.

Quiet friend who has come so far,
feel how your breathing makes more space around you.
Let this darkness be a bell tower
and you the bell. As you ring,

what batters you becomes your strength.
Move back and forth into the change.
What is it like, such intensity of pain?
If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine.

In this uncontainable night,
be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,
the meaning discovered there.

And if the world has ceased to hear you,
say to the silent earth: I flow.
To the rushing water, speak: I am.

–Rainer Maria Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus II, 29 (translation by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows)

References:

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.

Green, Jeffrey Wolf. (2009). Pluto Volume II: The Soul’s Evolution through Relationships. The Wessex Astrologer.

Capricorn Solstice 2015

Delaunay simultaneous contrast

Simultaneous Contrasts: Sun and Moon by Robert Delaunay (1912)

SOLSTICE

Merry Solstice to one and all.  The Solstice in the sign of Capricorn on December 21 or December 22 (depending upon your time zone) supports fine tuning the forms we have been developing and launching forward with our work into a dramatic year of change. For those living in the Southern Hemisphere of our planet, this is the Summer Solstice of peak solar light, while for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere we are at the darkest time of the year in which we welcome the first glimmer of a returning Sun.  From the Northern Hemisphere perspective of this being the darkest and most fertile time, many consider the Capricorn Solstice chart to be paramount in terms of casting a gaze ahead at the coming year.   Last year at this time there was truly a dark Solstice as a New Moon happened on the same day-  now a year later, we will have a waxing gibbous Moon in Taurus gracing our night with bright light.

The waxing gibbous Moon at this Solstice symbolically resonates with a budding that promises a full blooming according to the lunation cycle developed by Dane Rudhyar. This symbolism of a flower bud is accentuated by the Moon being in the sign of Taurus, the exaltation of the Moon, lending a grounded quality able to evaluate the structures we have set in motion and discern if there are any parts in need of restructuring.  Acting harmoniously with a gibbous Moon means gathering together the tools and resources we need for the coming grand opening of meaning, making the necessary arrangements that will allow us to effectively express the burgeoning meaning we are discovering into forms that will be functional.  The Moon in Taurus at the Solstice is applying to a trine with Mercury in Capricorn and Jupiter in Virgo, and so supports discovering how to successfully integrate our work and vision into a wider community so as to be useful for others.

The Taurus Moon is additionally in range of a trine to the North Node of the Moon in Virgo as well as Pluto in Capricorn, and so there is a valuable aspect of our soul we can uncover by probing into the darkness of our depths at this Solstice time.  With the Moon in stabilizing aspects with both the North Node and Jupiter as well as Mercury (the ruler of the transiting North Node), this Solstice supports us discerning not only the expansive opportunities on our horizon but the ability to make new choices that propel us forward into a new direction.

The Taurus Moon of the Solstice does involve some more challenging, catalytic aspects, as it is also applying to an opposition with Venus in Scorpio and separating from a square to Ceres in Aquarius.  This t-square involves the three most pre-eminent feminine symbols for archetypes we use in Western astrology, and connects well with the concept of our sacred feminine giving birth at the time of Solstice.  While a Taurus Moon supports the idea of turning inward into our core to incubate within the protective sphere of our own meaning and values, the opposition to Venus in Scorpio amplifies the polarity of being open to sharing our most intimate feelings with our beloved, being open to merging our resources with others, and being drawn into exploring the hidden recesses of other people and any circumstance we find ourselves within.

Ceres in Aquarius is a vital piece of this arrangement to consider, and she has a stabilizing influence through a sextile with Saturn in Sagittarius and a sextile with Uranus in Aries.  Ceres here holds the potential to activate humanitarian concerns related to the highest good in any situation, outside of consensus conditioning.  However, much depends upon where individual awareness is situated, for in this astrological climate Ceres could be acting from a wounded place of fear or from a wounded place that has transcended fear and re-centered in a heartfelt place of love for the full ramification of our challenging life.  In the story of Ceres from myth, the Goddess reacts to the loss of her daughter initially by refusing to share her gifts with the world, yet by the end of a process of suffering she opens to a new sense of spiritual understanding and love.  Since Ceres is in a t-square with both Venus and the Moon at the Solstice, it highlights the significance of Ceres applying closely to a sextile with Uranus stationing direct in Aries.

Picasso Francoise as the Sun

Francoise as the Sun by Pablo Picasso (1946)

Uranus in Aries stations four days after the Solstice and so its stationing influence on the Solstice is one of the most important aspects to take into account.  When any planet stations it casts a shadow over the amalgam of astrology aspects simultaneously unfolding, and this is especially the case with a paradigm shattering planet such as Uranus stationing direct in the exaltation of the Sun.  Uranus last stationed retrograde at 20°30′ of Aries around July 26, a day after Venus stationed retrograde.  As a result this past period of Uranus retrograde took us through the Venus retrograde in Leo, two eclipses, Mercury retrograde in Libra, and the initiation of the square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces.  Our feelings and experiences from this time period will be especially pertinent to Uranus stationing now, but a Uranus stationing can pull memory from the farthest reaches of memory imaginable.

Uranus stations direct at 16º33′ of Aries, and so if you have anything prominent in your chart configured to this degree by aspect you could experience one of those moments that suddenly and surely alters your perception for good.  Insights from Uranus can strike seemingly from anywhere, in the middle of a chaotic crescendo or in the quiet whispers of contemplation.  The mind altering component consistent to Uranus stationing is a time warp of past and present morphing so that our perspective of our past changes irrevocably, sending emancipatory waves of thought into our present moment.  While there may be pain and grief associated with the breakthrough, in the end there is liberating freedom to be found in the shattering of fixed structures of our past.

Uranus in Aries is still in range of a square to Pluto in Capricorn, and as Mars in Libra is separating from its opposition with Uranus at the time of the Solstice, Saturn in Sagittarius is beginning to apply to a trine with Uranus in Aries that will be one of the most vital aspects of the coming year.  Mercury in Capricorn is also separating from a square with Uranus in Aries and applying to a square with Mars in Libra, reconnecting the tension of the recent opposition between Mars and Uranus.  Thus, while Mars is clearly separating from its stormy aspects with Pluto and Uranus at the time of the Solstice, Mercury moving from a square to Uranus into a square with Mars suggests a volatile atmosphere for the stationing of Uranus.  This is how Uranus rolls, so be ready for a shake-up that will make you look at your life in a completely different way.

Delaunay_Windows_Open_Simultaneously_1st_Part,_3rd_Motif

Windows Open Simultaneously 1st Part, 3rd Motif by Robert Delaunay (1912)

Two of the most prominent aspects of the Solstice chart are also two of the most prominent omens for the coming year:  the square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces, and the conjunction of Jupiter in Virgo with the North Node of the Moon.  Jupiter and the North Node will be in range of a conjunction through July 2016, and Saturn and Neptune will be moving out of their square aspect in November 2016.  Though Jupiter is not in range of a square to Saturn at the time of the Solstice, Jupiter will be entering into a square with Saturn in March 2016 and eventually will come into range of a wide opposition with Neptune while simultaneously being in a square with Saturn.

Weaving all this together, the Solstice chart involves the pivotal tumult signified by Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune being in hard, change-oriented aspects while also being in mutable signs that further signify deep shifting.  Within all of this being stirred up now, many are clinging tightly to past belief systems for a sense of security in changing circumstances that feel frightening to those who are intent on maintaining the status quo.  While the concept of “illusion” is often applied to Neptune, Saturn can also be full of illusion in the sense of people becoming convinced that a belief system, a way to structure their reality, is in line with an ultimate truth when in reality there is a far vaster truth signified by Neptune that is actually going on. This Solstice is truly a powerful moment of rebirth in perspective for all those willing to dive in and reorient their sense of truth and meaning in the shattering of systems occurring on our planet today.

Ernst forest and sun

Forest and Sun (1930) by Max Ernst

Finally, there are numerous aspects in the Solstice chart centering around Mercury in Capricorn that suggest we are in a moment of rebirthing our vision through entering an underworld journey.  Mercury is separating from a conjunction with Pluto while applying to a conjunction with Pallas Athene in Capricorn, and also applying to a square with Mars in Libra.  Mercury is now a sage Evening Star capable of helping us synthesize meaning from all of the volatility of this time, and while conjoining Pallas Athene lends itself a visionary component that can connect patterns and weave together significant insights.  Mercury is also now in its retrograde shadow zone, and will ultimately station retrograde in January at the beginning of Aquarius in square to Mars in Scorpio.  Mercury will then turn retrograde back to another conjunction with Pallas Athene and eventually will station direct conjunct Pluto in Capricorn.  With Mercury in the home of Saturn, Saturn in the home of Jupiter, and Jupiter in the home of Mercury, the underworld trek Mercury will be guiding us into will help us discern the bottom-line roots of the desires and conflicts we are consciously aware of at this Solstice, igniting inner vision.

In the year ahead, all of the Mercury retrograde periods will involve the Earth element and important aspects to Pluto and Jupiter also in Earth signs.  In May 2016 when Mercury goes retrograde in Taurus, it will station direct in trine to Pluto in Capricorn and Jupiter in Virgo.  During the following Mercury retrograde in Virgo, Mercury will station retrograde at the end of August 2016 conjoining Jupiter in Virgo, moving backward to again station direct in trine to Pluto in Capricorn.  Thus while Mercury is separating from a conjunction with Pluto at the time of this Solstice, Mercury and Pluto will be in cahoots for the entire year ahead and brokering new deals on a soul level. This Solstice portends a year of following through on plans to build solid growth, attending to the needs of our bodies, and moving forward in the material realm to more deeply establish ourselves in the role we will be playing in the great drama erupting in our collective.

Furthermore, the square beginning to form now between Mercury and Mars, with Mercury in the home of Saturn, is a call demanding hard work, perseverance, and a relentless focus on the dreams and visions we wish to manifest in the coming year.  Mars will going retrograde in Sagittarius and Scorpio later in 2016, and there will be a strong resonance between the Mercury retrograde in Taurus and the Mars retrograde in Scorpio later in May 2016.  Furthermore, in the Mercury retrograde in Virgo that will happen in September 2016, Mercury retrograde in Virgo will be square to Mars moving direct in Sagittarius.  We often associate Mars in a square to Mercury with arguments, anger, diatribes, and bitter conflicts, and it is a guarantee that in our collective the hateful rhetoric happening today at this Solstice will continue.  Yet on a personal level, we can seize the explosive energy that will erupt from Mercury in square to Mars in order to apply its heat to a fusion of our body, mind, and spirit activated in determined effort.  In the destruction of form we will witness around us in the coming season, there is at the same time extraordinary creative effort we will be able to birth from within.

“Apparently the power to establish order, which ranks among the most inexorable strengths of artistic creation, is summoned most insistently by two interior states: by one’s awareness of abundance and by the utter collapse within a human being, which, after all, yields yet another abundance.”

“What ruthless magnificence and yet how terrible to ignite love:  what conflagration, what disaster, what doom.  To be on fire yourself, of course, if one is capable of it:  that may well be worth life and death.”

“To be loved means to be ablaze. To love is: to cast light with inexorable oil. To be loved is to pass away; to love is to last.”

— Rainer Maria Rilke, from Letters on Life

 

Solstice12-21-2015WRIGC2B

References:

Rilke, Rainer Maria. (2006). Letters on Life: New Prose Translations. Edited and translated by Ulrich Baer. The Modern Library Classics.

 

New Moon in Scorpio

New Moon in Scorpio

Night Creatures (1965) by Lee Krasner

Scorpio New Moon

The New Moon in Scorpio on November 11, 2015 envelopes the setting of intention within the deep waters of Scorpio.  Scorpio is the home of Mars, also associated by modern astrologers with Pluto and the soulful source of our desires.  A Scorpio New Moon compels us to dive into desire and feel the whettening of appetite for that which enflames our passion from within.  Scorpio is a fixed sign, and though Scorpio holds potential for transformation at a core level, Scorpio also involves fixation and refusal to let go of an object of desire.  For example in relationships, Scorpio can erupt in emotional manipulation that attempts to control and keep the desired partner at all costs.  While one can give advice to release attachment to desires that honest reflection reveals are no longer fruitful, when under the sway of Scorpio resistance can be futile.  Even though we know from experience that the realization of certain desires do not bring us genuine fulfillment, we flow with the desire nonetheless wedded to memories of fulfilled desires that brought essential satisfaction.  Wherever our current desires are leading us, in the darkness of a Scorpio New Moon we can tap into a visceral feel for our inner passions.  With the New Moon conjoining Mercury and in sextile to both Jupiter and Pluto, we will have amplified ability to probe deeply into the foundational undercurrents of our desires.

This New Moon is pivotal for numerous reasons, in part because it follows shortly after the cross-quarter marker of the Sun passing fifteen degrees of Scorpio, marking the mid-point of Fall in the northern hemisphere and Spring in the southern hemisphere.  This New Moon also comes with Venus having entered her home sign of Libra and separating from a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon, as Mars the ruler of the New Moon is applying closely to a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon.  Soon after the moment of the New Moon the true calculation of the lunar nodes will shift from Aries and Libra to the South Node of the Moon being in Pisces and the North Node of the Moon being in Virgo, ending the twenty-one month journey that began when the lunar nodes entered Aries and Libra in mid-February 2014.  Furthermore, the lunar cycle beginning with this New Moon will bring us the first exact last quarter square between Saturn and Neptune in their current cycle, as at the time of the following Full Moon they will enter an exact square.

Mercury in Scorpio is also in an important transition phase as this new lunar cycle commences, closely conjoining the New Moon while combust the Sun.  As the New Moon waxes toward it’s first quarter phase in the following week, Mercury will enter the heart of the Sun at its superior conjunction on November 17.  The superior conjunction has a different symbolic meaning than the psychopomp underworld association of Mercury uniting with the Sun while retrograde at the inferior conjunction.  In our current phase of Mercury, the angelic messenger is soaring into celestial realms on the far side of the Sun from us, creating openings for an onrush of epiphanies and insights.  As our minds can feel overwhelmed with a lot of information to process, slowing down enough to take in our full perception will help access the penetrating inquiry available with a superior conjunction of Mercury in Scorpio. Mercury uniting with the Sun in Scorpio can delve to the bottom line dynamic of any circumstance with brutal honesty, and it is likely secrets and hypocrisies will be revealed.

Mercury in Scorpio is further magnified by the Scorpio New Moon conjoining both the geocentric North Node and South Node of Mercury, as well as the heliocentric South Node of Mercury.  Considering that Mercury in astrology directs the discerning functions of our consciousness, this nodal activation of Mercury by the New Moon in Scorpio can unveil the roots of our perception and its connection to our current patterns of communication.  We can gain increased understanding of our underlying desires leading us to perceive and communicate in our current state. As the heliocentric South Node of Mercury is also activated, there is deep inquiry also available on a collective level into the shadow side of society and the underbelly driving current mass movements of feeling.

Carl Jung from his Red Book

from The Red Book (Liber Novus) by Carl Jung

Mars in Virgo rules the New Moon in the sign of Mercury, while the New Moon is conjoining not only Mercury but also the South Node of Mars.  Mars is further electrified by applying closely to a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon at the time of the New Moon.  The North Node of the Moon is Rahu, the desirous head of the dragon hungry to devour our Lights at the times of eclipses, and associated in evolutionary astrology with the leading edge of our desire nature that propels us forward in our development.  As a result this New Moon is ideal for harnessing burning desires to focused intentions formed with Mercurial attention to detail and planning for martial action.  As the South Node of Mars is also activated, it is yet another indication that we can come to a more holistic understanding of our current desires, including our dark side so to speak, the unconscious influences on our conscious will force.  It will be a potent New Moon from which to launch a new initiative of pure intent.

The potency of the Scorpio New Moon to fuel expansive new vision is further seen in it being sextile to both Jupiter in Virgo and Pluto in Capricorn, and by it facilitating the polarity of Chiron in Pisces opposing Jupiter in Virgo through the New Moon being trine to Chiron and being sextile to Jupiter.  In particular, if our hearts have been set upon a desire, goal, or vision for a length of time while withstanding numerous setbacks, our patience and determination could be rewarded with an associated breakthrough with the inception of this New Moon.  We may notice a lot of restructuring and realigning of organizations in our environment in correlation, and we likewise have the opportunity to restructure our home environment, work environment, and even our inner psychology.  If you have a tendency to intellectualize and rationally detach from circumstances, make more of an effort to emotionally center and be present in your body so as to attune to the ever changing moment of the material realm.  This New Moon holding stabilizing, fertile aspects between Jupiter, Chiron, and Pluto in water and earth signs suggests we can reorient toward being better able to manifest a more expansive vision for our life.

An additional ingredient to the generative capacity of this Scorpio New Moon is that Venus has returned to her home of Libra, and is separating from a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon and applying to a sextile with Saturn in Sagittarius.  Venus in Libra is outwardly focused and her beauteous gaze will be focused upon relationships that will support and help to stabilize the endeavors fueled by our desires.  The sextile from Venus to Saturn corresponds with opportunities to structure our environment and build a foundational form that will be able to buttress our desires for Venusian pleasure in the face of any inclement weather on the horizon.  As a result, this New Moon supports taking direct action to protect what is dear to our hearts and to create the necessary related structural reinforcements in our life, and could prove difficult for those procrastinating or spending idle hours in escapist pastimes.

Saturn square Neptune

from Spectropia; or, Surprising Spectral Illusions (1865) by J.H. Brown

Saturn square Neptune

During this lunar cycle the Saturn and Neptune square will be building each day until it culminates at the time of the upcoming Full Moon in Gemini.  Hellenistic astrology techniques suggest that Saturn in Sagittarius is in the superior position of this square and will overcome Neptune in Pisces, but there is an important additional development in the coming lunar cycle:  Neptune will station direct in Pisces on November 18, a day after Mercury unites with the Sun.  Neptune stationing gives it added emphasis and potency at this time, and the superior conjunction of Mercury in Scorpio happening at the same time could tap us into other realms of perception that go beyond the limitations of Saturn.  While Saturn may be in the superior position in its square to Neptune, our Saturn constructs of reality will be vulnerable to becoming dissolved in the waves of Neptune.

If we are carrying a dream and vision of pure heart that we are capable of manifesting with determined effort, then the solution to the tension created by the square between Saturn and Neptune will be to make sure we are responsibly attending to all facets of what needs to be done to achieve our goal.   Saturn and Neptune are forming a last quarter square suggesting that the bigger the dream and vision the better, as the energy of this aspect calls for a reorientation of how we have been constructing our reality.  The last quarter square between Saturn and Neptune does not automatically spell doom for big dreams, but it does spell doom for any illusions we have been under the influence of.  This includes illusions of being smaller and more limited than we actually are, which is why trying to play it safe at this time is not a real solution to the challenges brought forth by Saturn in square to Neptune.

There is likewise a strong possibility of becoming disillusioned with past belief systems, with society, with humanity, with others in our relationships, and even with ourselves as the Saturn and Neptune square builds in intensity each day.  In particular those who have been dishonest and cloaked in lies, secrets, and hypocrisy could be revealed.  Bearing in mind the meaning of the last quarter square between Saturn and Neptune, famously called a “crisis in consciousness” by Dane Rudhyar, this disillusionment is a fundamental aspect to a reorientation process underway that in this case is opening us to the interplay between our Saturnine structures and the transpersonal realm of Neptune.  This is also only the first exact last quarter square between Saturn and Neptune, as we have two more coming in 2016.  When there is a such a powerful repeating aspect in astrology, oftentimes it is the first aspect that feels the most chaotic and unsettling.  The point is that we have a long road ahead of us involving this square and as the structure of our consciousness and belief systems begin to shift in correlation, we will begin to recenter and stabilize in our newfound perspective.

Scorpio II Decan

Six of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Scorpio II Decan

The Scorpio New Moon is in the second decan of Scorpio, a decan ruled by the Sun and associated with the 6 of Cups card in tarot.  It is an auspicious sign that the Sun governs this face since we are at a New Moon, meaning that our Lunar Light is regenerating in the rays of our Solar Light.  In the image of the 6 of Cups, we find the child-like innocence of purely giving for the pleasure of giving and receiving the joy of witnessing gratitude upon the face of the recipient.  Astrologer Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “An Apparatus for Mutual Distillation” to the Scorpio II decan, as it is a face in which the desires of Scorpio interchange in commerce with another:

The parties here [in the 6 of Cups image] are children and their affection for one another is natural and unconditioned.  The pleasure signified is thus that which accompanies the expression of passion unencumbered by pretension or decorum.  It is a vision of ideal exchange between two parties, poignant and perfect.

The dynamic suggested by the children is identical to the alchemical process of mutual distillation, wherein the matter passes back and forth between on alembic and another, growing increasingly rarefied and potent. The laboratory technique of mutual distillation can be embodied, as well. A whole category of Taoist sexual energy practice, referred to as dual cultivation, involves exactly this exchange between partners. This process combines and distills the sexual energy both parties possess, resulting in a finer nectar than either could produce on their own. Though it is easy to imagine these dynamics between romantic partners, all relationships which rely on trust and continuous exchange generate such circuits (p. 180-1).

Coppock further discerned that in order to cultivate mutual satisfaction in relationships we must have trust, intimacy, and vulnerability present. Noting the image by Ibn Ezra for the Scorpio II decan, who described “A woman who has left her house; she is naked and has nothing on and she is entering the sea,” Coppock suggested that we need to be careful whom we open ourselves bare to, because the “virtuous circuit of exchange can become vicious in this face . . . the process of dual cultivation becomes one of mutual degradation, each destroying the quality of the other with each pass” (p 181).

As a result this is a New Moon in which to embrace honest communication and vulnerability with those you wish to deepen bonds of intimacy.  As the square between Saturn and Neptune is simultaneously building, we may need to navigate some toxic exchanges with others at times as glass windows of illusion are shattered.  At the same time, this New Moon holds some beautiful aspects to deepen our most important relationships with each partner opening to a fuller realization of the reality and desires of the other.  The Full Moon that follows at the end of November carries momentous, breakthrough astrological aspects, and so we are now at a key moment of inception to launch new work filled with deepening collaboration from.

Full Moon in Taurus and the Dawn of Jupiter, Venus, and Mars in Virgo

Full Moon in Taurus

Blind Minotaur Led by a Girl through the Night (1934) by Pablo Picasso

Taurus Full Moon

The Full Moon in Taurus on October 27 arrives like a temporary rainbow following a savage storm, fittingly at the Sabian symbol degree of “the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.”  In the penetrating streams of the Scorpio season, a full lunation in the sign of the Moon’s exaltation is auspicious for centering within the immense field of depth and death that coincides with our solar light passing through the tropical sign of the sensitive, venomous Scorpion.  Yes, things are always changing, yet we can now add Mercury retrograde to the list of pattern breaking transits we have completed that also includes eclipses and Venus retrograde.  As a result, this Full Moon is an opportunity to find calm in the fateful transitions we can now sense, in order to discern the choices we can make in our highest good through probing deep into the needs and current state of our emotional and physical bodies.

In the Northern hemisphere, it is easy to associate the cold decay and decomposition of Fall that creates the compost of our future growth with the meaning of Scorpio, bearing in mind that in our Southern hemisphere it is the blossoming season of Spring.  The axis of Scorpio and Taurus lit up at this time involves signs of Water and Earth, signs that are nocturnal and yin, the homes of Mars and Venus where we can most acutely feel on internal levels the pang of our human desires.  Scorpio and Taurus are fixed signs that as a result are about stabilizing on internal levels, yet in the constant flux and loss of our material realm in bodies that are vulnerable to the wounds of time and disease, the desire to feel stability through our attachment to certain values and ideas makes us face the multitudinous crises of our human life.

Whereas Scorpio where our Sun currently resides has a martial, plutonic ability to focus with instinctual, psychic sensitivity into the atmosphere of any environment, Taurus where our Moon is waxing full has a fecund, fruitful inner awareness aligned with Venus.  Taurus wants to be surrounded by whatever is found to be beautiful, as Taurus is the inner home of Venus where we can get in touch with our inner values that bring a sense of beauty to our life.  Venus is the ruler of this Taurus Full Moon and making extraordinary aspects of separating from a conjunction with Jupiter and applying to a conjunction with Mars at the time of the Full Moon, as well as closely applying to an opposition with Chiron in Pisces.  Venus and Mars so close together and being the rulers of the two lights at this Full Moon means the messages we receive at this time are absolutely crucial to pay attention to.  There is huge potential at this time to feel our desires and realize whether our current actions are in alignment our out of alignment with a trajectory that will help us with their manifestation.

Jupiter, Venus, Mars in Virgo

The Tree of Life (first half 17th Century) British, canvas with silk thread

 Mutable Magnum Opus

While our two lights are in fixed signs at this Full Moon, the dominant astrological modality is the mutable as Jupiter, Venus, and Mars are in Virgo, Neptune and Chiron are in Pisces, and Saturn is in Sagittarius.  Mutable signs are about shifts, transitions, and being aligned with Jupiter and Mercury their fluid nature is often applied to our beliefs, vision, analysis, and communication. In the mutable meeting ground of Jupiter, Venus, and Mars, we are initiating a new vision of meaning from a place of inner desire and value.

The most exact aspect of the Full Moon is that the ruling Venus is closely applying to an opposition with Chiron in Pisces, while Jupiter is also applying and Mars is separating from being opposite Chiron. Chiron is a celestial body that bridges the Saturn dimension of astrology with the dimensions of astrology beyond Uranus, as well as with the wounds and healing of wounds that coincide with transitions to farther reaching awareness. While the wounds associated with Chiron feel very personal when they are occurring, potentially our experience of facing these challenges and working through them transports us to another level of being.  The triple conjunction of Jupiter, Venus, and Mars being opposite Chiron while separating from a trine to Pluto in Capricorn can coincide with an opening to core needs and desires that source feelings of empowerment if we structure an outlet or practice to express them through.  In correlation we can be shown where we need to get out of our own way in order to access this newfound dimension of strength.

The mutable initiation of a new cycle between Jupiter, Venus, and Mars having a liberating transpersonal quality is augmented by the conjunctions occurring in the sign of Mercury, Mercury concurrently being in the sign of Venus, and Mercury separating from an opposition with Uranus at the time of the Venusian Full Moon. Mercury’s recent opposition to Uranus could have correlated with insight into relationship needs and discernment of opportunities for collaboration that could break us out of past restrictive patterns if enacted. In the mutual accord and shared feeling of partnership we can access a deeper sense of self and wholeness. As Mercury opposed Uranus this past week, we likely felt the magnetic pull of those relationships which can help us activate this opening. Since the Mercury and Uranus opposition is now separating, the illumination of this Taurus Full Moon reveals what has been unearthed on shore following a surge of tidal forces.

However, in our surrounding oceanic field there is a more imposing tidal wave building in the form of a mutable square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces.  This is the great celestial backdrop to the current scene of our drama, and while it will not become exact until November 26, 2015 it has now gotten within three degrees and is at it’s closest point yet in this cycle.  Back in March 2015 when Saturn in Sagittarius stationed retrograde, Saturn was also about three degrees away from Neptune so it may be possible with reflection to notice a tie between events culminating now that are bound back to five or six months ago.

Saturn and Neptune have vastly different meanings, including that Saturn governs structures and constructs of consensus reality while Neptune as Dane Rudhyar wrote brings us messages from beyond, beyond here signifying concepts such as the boundless field sourcing our reality and the collective unconscious.  Contacting Saturn enlivens us to work hard and overcome crucial tests, whereas contacting Neptune enlivens us to dream and imagine beyond the constraints of present circumstances.  Both planets being in the home of Jupiter means this square can fundamentally alter our vision of life and how we create meaning for ourselves, with old outworn constructs dissolving in the waves of Neptune.

Venus conjunct Jupiter in Virgo

Sphinx (550 B.C.) Greek

Virgo Jupiter, Venus, Mars

The new cycles beginning now between Jupiter, Venus, and Mars deserve some extra thought and attention as they are the third to occur this year, and the final ones that will finally initiate a new cycle within each dyad.  The exception to this triple phenomenon is Jupiter and Mars, as Jupiter and Mars recently experienced their first and only conjunction of the year in Virgo at the time of the recent Crescent Moon in the currently waxing lunar cycle.  This is in fact the first new cycle to initiate between Jupiter and Mars since July 2013 when they were both in Cancer, and so we are now at the early, disorienting phase of getting in touch with the desires that will be animating a regenerated vision for our life.

The cycle between Venus and Jupiter is more about the relationship between our inner values and our vision for life, and we are now at the third and final initiation of their new cycle since the beginning of July 2015.  On July 1, 2015 Venus and Jupiter were first conjunct in the third decan of Leo (with Venus direct at the time of a Full Moon), and were again on August 4, 2015 (with Venus retrograde and also in square to Saturn in Scorpio) also in the third face of Leo.  The first of this series when Venus and Jupiter were uniting as beautiful illuminated lights in our night sky had a conquering feeling of setting out with passionate hope and ideals toward who or what we found deeply meaningful, whereas the second of the series was more of a trial by fire with the exact square to Saturn coinciding with pivotal challenges we had to solve.  Now, the final conjunction of the series occurring in the second face of Virgo will correlate with a process of refinement, focusing into the details of our circumstances in order to create the sense of quality in our life we find most authentic and desirable.

A week after the Full Moon during the waning Moon, Venus will unite with Mars for the third and final time this cycle on November 2, and we will begin to feel a resolution to relational patterns that not only stretch across the past year but all the way back to 2013.  The last time we had a completely new initiated cycle between Venus and Mars was in April 2013 when they were in Aries, and if you are like me you will notice there is a direct, palpable thread between the issues of our desires and values then and now.  During this previous year, we have had two other conjunctions of Venus and Mars, but neither was truly the beginning of a new cycle because we knew they still had more conjunctions to come.  On February 21, 2015 we had the first conjunction of Mars and Venus in the first decan of Aries, and then on August 31, 2015 we had the second conjunction of Mars and Venus in the second decan of Leo, with Venus retrograde. Similar to the pattern of the first two conjunctions between Venus and Jupiter, the first conjoining of Venus and Mars in February that we could also see in our night sky had a more soaring quality of hope like making a wish on a star.  In contrast, their second conjunction at the end of August with Venus retrograde had a more martial quality of needing to fight or persist in pursuit of our desire.

The Taurus Full Moon is therefore illuminating the final balsamic conjunction between Venus and Mars in this cycle, bringing to the forefront all past attitudes, beliefs, and values connected to present and past relationships that now need to be released.  At the same time, it is a powerful seeding and visioning moment in which the relationships most fertile for our future will become paramount.  Yet our inner relationship with our Self is perhaps most important to monitor since Mars and Venus are conjoined in Virgo.  If we are able to release the old issues that have been weighing us down that we are overdue to be free from, we will begin to feel a sense of Self that has greater integrity as the new cycle between Venus and Mars begins next week.

It is further interesting to ponder how Venus, Jupiter, and Mars are all now brilliant Morning Stars, whereas previous conjunctions between Venus and Mars and Venus and Jupiter occurred as Evening Stars.  It is further compelling to consider that all three planets are in the home of Mercury, the inner reflective, analytical sign of Virgo symbolized by the Winged Maiden who guides us to connect our sense of Self within the natural and celestial order we find ourselves within.  There is support in all of this to mentally focus on the ever changing details of our material realm and organize our myriad daily pursuits to most effectively support our bodily health and the manifestation of our creative endeavors.  Like the cry of the cock at the break of dawn, these morning lights will awaken us to our most pressing values and desires to address and act from.  There is less support for outwardly attempting to work on as much as possible and more support for inwardly discerning a few precious aspects of our life to devote our full attention to.

Taurus I Decan

5 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Taurus I Decan

The Taurus Full Moon falls within the first face of Taurus ruled by Mercury and associated with the Five of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith from the Rider-Waite tarot deck.  The Five of Pentacles traditionally relates to worrisome thoughts over a lack of material resources or the ever threatening potential of material loss, guiding the querent to yoke their anxious mental energy to direct action that can help build or nurture resources that can be drawn from in a future time of need.

In the Rider-Waite tarot image shown above, we see two wanderers freezing in a snowy climate and wanting for appropriate material resources to keep themselves warm and secure.  Behind them like a beacon of light is the illuminated stained glass windows of a church, an institution built on proclaimed principles of helping those in need or poverty.  One of my favorite writers on the tarot Kelsey Lynore wrote a more unique interpretation of this image that focuses on the hypocrisy of the church and its oftentimes neglect of those in need, connecting this with a dire situation in which we feel a lack of support from others that leads to ostracized anger.  Lynore’s advised response is to “make certain that you uphold the very ethics that you expect from others, as there is a danger that you may take on the very qualities of those who have cast you out,” thereby refusing to be led “into a lifetime of narrow-minded, narcissistic greed.”  This idea connects well with Mercury’s governship of this face and the importance of maintaining inner mental integrity even in the most difficult of circumstances, so as to better open ourselves to the twists of fate that can coincide with a boon of new resources to draw from.

Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces: The History, Astrology, and Magic of the Decans suggested that it is this very fear of material want and poverty shown in the Rider-Waite image of the Five of Pentacles that propels us to cultivate the resources of our mind and surroundings in order to create a livelihood that will support our survival needs in the bleakest of times.  Coppock ascribed the image of “The Plow” to the first decan of Taurus that follows the previously martial faces of Aries:

The implements of war seen in the Aries decan have been beaten into plowshares here. Thus this face is traditionally connected to all of the sciences necessary to draw forth fruit from the land.  The plow, which breaks open the soil, is one of it’s most enduring symbols, but not the sum thereof.  In this face we gaze upon the ways that we might make use of our world.  Understanding our resources wisely, we consider how we might multiply their value.

—  Austin Coppock, 36 Faces, page 69

The first face of Taurus where this Full Moon shines being ruled by Mercury is harmonious with the triple conjunction of Jupiter, Venus, and Mars also occurring in the domicile and exaltation of Mercury.  The surrounding astrological aspects of this Taurus Full Moon therefore support us using any fears about a lack of material resources to fuel prudent focus on whatever resources we have on external and internal levels to develop.  There is support in this astrological climate to use the capacity of Mercury for commerce and connections to build bridges and cultivate the assets at hand, finding a solution to whatever predicament we find ourselves in.  The astrology element of Earth is amplified at this Full Moon and likewise we find ourselves with a symbolic fertile field to plow and plant for whatever it is we wish to grow.

References

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.